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Mulally out of Microsoft CEO search, sticking with Ford through 2014
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Dec 5, 2013, 12:59 PM
Microsoft's ongoing search for a chief executive to replace the departing Steve Ballmer may have to look beyond Ford's Alan Mulally, as a Ford company director has said that Mulally will stick with the company at least through the end of 2014. Bloomberg reported that Edsel Ford II, a company director and great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford, said that Mulally had confirmed his intention to stick with the automaker through 2014. Mulally, who helped orchestrate a turnaround in Ford's fortunes, was looked upon as possibly an ideal candidate to take the helm at Microsoft, which remains profitable but has struggled to adapt to the new computing paradigm.

"[Mulally] is staying through the end of 2014 and that's all I know," Ford said during the company's introduction of its new Mustang in Dearborn, Mich., on Thursday. "Frankly, he has told us that his plan is to stay with Ford through the end of 2014."

While not exactly concrete, Ford's comments cast doubt on the possibility of Mulally as the next Microsoft head. If Mulally does stay with Ford through the end of 2014, that would run over the time period Ballmer set for his own departure. In August, announcing that he would step down from the top seat at Microsoft, Ballmer set a time frame of one year.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally appears to have pulled out of the Microsoft CEO running.
Ford CEO Alan Mulally appears to have pulled out of the Microsoft CEO running. Image via DailyTech.

Since his name emerged as a potential Ballmer replacement, Mulally has never expressed too much interest in the position. Indeed, Ford's comments are in keeping with Mulally's previous statements on the matter, as the Ford CEO has continued to only express his "intent" to stay with Ford for the time being.

Microsoft has been openly courting Mulally for the top spot, apparently leaking his name to the press repeatedly as a candidate. There are others on the software giant's list, though. Among them are former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and Oracle president Mark Hurd.

Whoever steps into the top role at the company will face a considerable challenge. Microsoft is far behind both Apple and Google in the race for mobile operating system primacy. Google's Android runs on some 80 percent of mobile devices shipped worldwide, while Apple's iOS runs on much of the remainder. Microsoft's Windows Phone and Windows platforms are struggling to achieve relevance in the mobile segment, and the traditional PC market appears in decline.
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