No sooner had Stephen Elop been named Nokia's chief executive in 2010 than rumours began to circulate about a closer relationship between the Finnish firm and Mr Elop's long-time employer, Microsoft.
The former head of Macromedia, the software firm absorbed by Adobe, Mr Elop used to head Microsoft's business unit.
Now, as the American software giant has bought up Nokia's handset arm, Mr Elop will return to the Microsoft fold as part of the deal, fanning speculation that he might be tapped to replace Steve Ballmer, the Redmond-based company's chief executive who last month announced plans to step down within the coming year.
While at Nokia, Mr Elop did indeed engineer close ties between the two companies, making Microsoft's software the primary platform for the Finnish firm's phones.
Given that Mr Ballmer's departure was believed to have been motivated in large part by the company's failure to make a dent in the mobile market, Mr Elop's experience running a mobile business might propel him to the top of the list of potential candidates for the post.
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