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Is Ford CEO Alan Mulally the Prime Candidate To Replace Ballmer?

Ford CEO Alan Mulally is reportedly Microsoft's lead candidate to replace Steve Ballmer, who is set to retire within the next year.

Once viewed as a longshot, All Things D's Kara Swisher reported yesterday that Mulally has risen as the top contender to replace Ballmer, though it's not clear if he would take the job if offered. Mulally's work turning around Ford is not done and he promised the automaker he would stay on board through the end of 2014.

Swisher, who noted that Mulally is one of the few CEOs who has candidly responded to her e-mails -- and on-the-record -- said he has gone dark after sources told her he's a front-runner. Bloomberg TV suggested maybe the leak was aimed at putting pressure on Mulally to consider breaking his promise to Ford.

It's not surprising that Gates and Ballmer might want to see Mulally take the job. Ballmer himself has deep ties to Ford. His father Frederic was a manager there and Mulally reportedly advised Ballmer in advance of the company's latest restructuring. The new One Microsoft even shares a similar name to One Ford, the automaker's own mission statement to reinvent itself. Indeed Mulally won huge plaudits for saving the company without accepting a government bailout, as General Motors and Chrysler did back in 2009.

Until yesterday's report, many pundits were betting former Nokia CEO and former Microsoft president Stephen Elop was among the top contenders to take over the top spot at Microsoft. Swisher's report said he remains a top candidate, along with Tony Bates, the former CEO of Skype, which Microsoft acquired in 2011. Microsoft also reportedly has contacted another former key Microsoft exec Paul Maritz, the recent CEO of VMware, who is now running that company's spinoff Pivotal.

Ford COO Mark Fields today told reporters at a fundraising event in Detroit, that Mulally remains "focused" on the automaker's long-term turnaround.

Would you like to see Mulally take the reins of Microsoft or do you prefer the Board choose an insider or one who once held a leadership position to take the top slot?


Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 09/27/2013 at 12:49 PM

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Reader Comments:

Sun, Feb 2, 2014

Any move in the direction of an MVNO is clrealy a desperation move, which is why it is a Plan B. The economics of increasing the marketing budget without a concurrent way to increase revenue per unit doesn't work out. In the proposed Plan B Microsoft's revenue per unit goes up by more than an order of magnitude. Does that pay for a global MVNO strategy? The accountants would be looking very closely at that question. Also keep in mind that in acquiring Skype Microsoft purchased, or is already investing in, much of the required infrastructure. In other words, Microsoft is already building a next-generation telecom carrier and the question may simply be do the dynamics of the mobile phone market require them to proceed more aggressively and dramatically. Finally, Boeing has been there and done that . Boeing formed an airline as a way to sell it's planes. The government later passed a law prohibiting a company from being both a manufacturer and an airline, forcing Boeing to spin off United Airlines as a separate entity. [url=]pbhbvdkb[/url] [link=]vdyzfv[/link]

Sun, Jan 19, 2014

Hey, http://l DOT must be your middle name. Great post!

Sun, Jan 19, 2014

When iPhones get a $350 subsidy and Android/WinPhones only get $200, it is awllfuy difficult to compete against iPhone. Windows Phone is doing better in Europe than in America, and iPhone is doing worse in Europe than America. That's precisely because of the no-subsidy model that prevails on that continent.So it would only be logical to sidestep the issue completely by selling both devices *and* services.On the other hand, between the Xbox/Bing losses and all the bad acquisitions it made over the past ten years, Microsoft could've bought T-Mobile USA by now. I'm not so sure that buying a US mobile carrier would be such a terrible idea.After all, an MVNO gets you all the hassle of a regulated business, plus customer service overhead, plus reputational risk. Basically, everything wrong with being a carrier, except for the capex. But Microsoft has a AAA credit rating. AT&T is A-, Verizon is A-, Deutsche Telekom is BBB+, Sprint is junk. Microsoft has a funding advantage over all of them. Capex should be the last thing it fears.The main danger would be that other US carriers stop carrying Windows Phone. But I don't see that an MVNO approach is that much better. This isn't Amazon or Google bundling bandwidth with Kindles or Chromebooks. Microsoft would be selling phones and bundling service the carriers' bread-and-butter.

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