Love him or hate him, Steve Ballmer leaves particularly big boots to fill when he steps down as Microsoft CEO in 2014. After joining the company in 1980 as Microsoft’s first business manager, Ballmer steadily rose to become the top dog in January 2000 following founder Gates’ decision to step down. Since stepping in as CEO, Ballmer has run a relatively steady ship overseeing the launch of Xbox, Windows vista, Bing,  Windows Phone, Windows 7,  Surface and the much criticized Windows 8. Although shareholder criticism has never been too far away with Microsoft stock prices having never reached the $58 high they were at shortly before Ballmer became CEO. The decline in the PC market hasn’t helped his cause, but many considered Microsoft too slow in coming to the mobile market and have subsequently fallen behind the likes of Apple and Samsung who are currently dominating the sector.

So with Ballmer’s days as CEO numbered, we wanted to get your opinion on who will be Microsoft’s next CEO? We’ve included some of top candidates according to UK betting agency Ladbrokes. If we’ve missed someone you feel is more likely to be named CEO, please include them in the comments. Otherwise cast your vote below:

online poll by Opinion Stage

The front-runners and current CEO Ballmer

Just in case you need reminding of Ballmer’s interesting public appearances for Microsoft over the years, check out the entertaining highlight reel put together by the The New York Times below:

[Image via gamerfuzion]