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Microsoft Windows President Steven Sinofsky unveils Windows 8 in Anaheim in September. (Microsoft photo)

Leading up to the debut of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview tomorrow, Reuters is out with an extensive story about Windows chief Steven Sinofsky, examining his management style and temperament and asking the question of whether he could ultimately succeed Steve Ballmer as CEO.

One catch: It’s not clear if Sinofsky would be the right fit, or if he would want the job if offered. I broached the topic with him once during an interview about his “One Strategy” management book but didn’t get anywhere with the line of questioning.

More than anything, the speculation underscores the fact that Microsoft hasn’t been public about its succession planning.

On that topic, Reuters quotes an anonymous “large institutional investor” saying, “Sinofsky is an executor, he can deliver …  They (Microsoft) should be able to provide more transparency to the depth of bench – to demystify the inner circle of management. In the absence of providing that, you get non-productive chatter. It would serve them well to nip that in the bud.”

Absent a shareholder revolt, there’s plenty of time for speculation. Ballmer has said he’s planning to stick around until 2017 or 2018, when his last kid goes to college.

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