EBay CEO Donahue seen as dark-horse candidate for Microsoft

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has suddenly vaulted to the top of the list of potential new CEOs for Microsoft—but is there a dark horse in Silicon Valley that no one's thinking about?

One analyst says there is: eBay CEO John Donahoe.

"He would bring potentially a fresh outside perspective which is what they really need right now," Pacific Crest Securities' Brendan Barnicle said Tuesday.

Donahoe is widely credited with a turnaround at eBay that brought the company back to the prominence it enjoyed in the heyday of the dot-com bubble.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

But Barnicle isn't Donahoe's only booster. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo gave him an unprompted shout-out about two weeks ago.

"John Donahoe is quietly one of the most impressive CEOs out there," Costolo said in an Aug. 19 tweet. "What he's achieved at eBay over the past few years is fascinating."

(Read more: eBay making big mobile push)