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Ever since Steve Ballmer announced last year that he will be stepping down as CEO within the next 12 months, there has been a lot of speculation about who is going to become the new Microsoft CEO. It would certainly be a tough job heading a company that has only ever had two CEOs, co-founder Bill Gates and his successor Steve Ballmer. It was initially rumored that Ballmer’s successor will be announced by the end of 2013, but that didn’t happen. Then it was said that an announcement will be made in January. While the month has just started, a new report claims the announcement is off the cards until February at the very least.

This according to the folks at re/code who have heard from multiple sources. One of the reasons being cited for a further delay in the announcement is apparently Bill Gates’ packed schedule. He’s scheduled to be in Davos for the World Economic Forum and coupled with his philanthrophic duties with the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, the co-founder will be quite busy. A source claimed to possess knowledge of the situation says that the search for a new CEO is “a Gates search,” through and through despite the fact that the company’s board is heavily involved in the search as well.

The same source claims nothing is going to happen without Gates, since he will be “much more involved in the company going forward.” It was recently reported that potential CEO candidates are concerned about the influence of both Gates and Ballmer on the board, and that they might have difficulty steering the company into the direction they want to. Microsoft is considering a few internal as well as external candidates one of which will ultimately end up with the job.

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