Microsoft’s shares fell by more than 11 percent on Friday after the company announced its quarterly earnings, so it’s pretty safe to assume that CEO Steve Ballmer is pretty unhappy with the way his Redmond-based empire is going.

The International Business Times writes that Microsoft might come down to a pretty unexpected solution when it comes to rescuing the company.

Bill Gates might actually return to the software giant in an attempt to save it on the long term, the source writes, even though no official statements have been provided.

Seeing Gates back at Microsoft’s helm is nearly impossible for the time being, as the company co-founder explained with several occasions that he wants to focus solely on charity. And still, this could be a winning strategy for a company whose recent products have dramatically failed to excite.

Both Windows 8 and the Surface tablet have been sold in small numbers, but Microsoft calls for more time until these two products make a name for themselves.

As far as Steve Ballmer is concerned, the CEO explained in a recent interview with The Seattle Times that a CEO succession is already planned, but he refused to provide more details on the person who’s soon going to control Microsoft.

“Our board always has a succession plan. The specifics of what our board is thinking is confidential. But I can say our board has put a lot of time and energy into the notion of both longer-term succession, as well as what I’d call the ‘what if the CEO gets hit by the bus’ succession,” Ballmer explained.

Pundits have suggested that Julie Larson-Green, the former Windows boss who’s now in charge of the hardware unit of the “new” Microsoft, could take over the CEO role after Steve Ballmer retires.

Larson-Green is now responsible for every piece of hardware developed by the Redmond-based giant, including the Surface tablet and the Xbox gaming console.