Microsoft is considering Ericsson AB Chief Executive Hans Vestberg as a possible successor to outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer, Bloomberg cited sources briefed on the software giant's executive search as saying on Wednesday.
Bloomberg did not report on whether the company has reached out to Vestberg, who as CEO of the Swedish firm runs one of the world's largest telecommunications equipment makers.
His naming may come as a surprise to many on Wall Street.
Analysts have discussed potential candidates ranging from company insiders Satya Nadella and Tony Bates to several outsiders. But speculation refocused on internal choices this month after leading external candidate, Ford Motor CEO Alan Mulally, took himself off the list.
Sources familiar with the company have told Reuters that, with Mulally out of the running, the list of candidates able to run a globe-spanning software corporation struggling to expand into the mobile software and devices markets was thin.