Alan Mulally's Next Stop Won't Be Microsoft, Say Reports

By Steve Anderson January 08, 2014

The issue of who will take over the top slot of Microsoft from Steve Ballmer has been one with a lot of twists, suppositions and guesses. Some of these were even almost rendered moot while being posed, as was the case when Qualcomm's then-COO Steve Mollenkopf was posed for the slot, but was promptly bumped up to CEO at Qualcomm within hours of the first suggestion slipping out. Another name that came up frequently in discussion on the issue was Alan Mulally of Ford, but new reports suggest that won't be happening, at least for a while.

New reports put Mulally as saying “I have no other plans to do anything other than serve Ford,” and this is likely to be just as the case lays out. But going somewhat unmentioned on that front is that Ford announced a plan in 2012 that would keep Mulally on the job through 2014. Given that's the year in which we're currently operating, there's a possibility, therefore, that come 2015, Mulally may be available to step in on that top slot. Mulally, however, reportedly noted that the idea of whether or not he would be leaving was actually distracting Ford from the business of making cars.

Since Microsoft announced back in August that Ballmer would be stepping down, a firestorm of speculation has touched off over who would be brought in to take over the top slot. With names from Stephen Elop to Sheryl Sandberg and beyond emerging, there was no shortage of solid candidates, each with a particular set of drawbacks and advantages to the company. Ballmer's tenure, which has been running since 2000, has been marked by plenty of setbacks to Microsoft as well as new product lines, including the origin of Microsoft's now very well-known Xbox line, which got its start in 2001.

Getting in the right person to replace Steve Ballmer is going to be difficult to say the least. It's almost more difficult to make a choice when there are more options available as opposed to few, because with more choices available, the chances of making a less-than-ideal choice increases. There are more factors to consider, and inadvertently over-weighting any one choice may well prove disastrous. While there's still plenty of time for Microsoft to make its call for the new top slot, there's also no shortage of potential replacements for Ballmer, and that's going to make things tough. That person's going to have to be able to navigate a field in which the video game business is increasingly important, Microsoft itself is moving into a host of new projects, and its primary business, the PC, is starting to buckle at least somewhat under the weight of several new device alternatives like smartphones and tablets.

There's a lot that will need doing at Microsoft over the next several years, and Microsoft will need a CEO that's ready to stand up to the sheer flood of change incoming and help keep Microsoft as a major player in several different games. Only time will tell, ultimately, who that person is, but whoever that person is will only step in after some very extensive vetting.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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