Ever since Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced back in August that he is going to leave the top job at Redmond within 12 months, there has been a lot of speculation about who is going to become the next leader of the world’s biggest software company. At Microsoft’s shareholder meeting earlier this month, the company’s co-founder and chairman Bill Gates said that whosoever is appointed will have a complex role to fill. He also mentioned how unique the company is in this aspect, in its history spanning over three decades, Microsoft has only ever had two CEOs, Gates and Ballmer.

The latest report from Bloomberg suggests that the board’s special committee is leaning towards Ford CEO Alan Mulally and internal candidate Satya Nadella, who is currently the executive vice president of the Cloud and Enterprise group at Microsoft. Outgoing Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and Microsoft business development head Tony Bates are reportedly “in the mix,” though the report claims it is unlikely that they’ll be offered the job. The board is said to be in favor of Alan Mulally given his legacy as a “turnaround expert,” while he initially denied any intention of moving away from Ford, Mulally has reportedly warmed up to the idea now. No timeframe has been provided as yet in which Microsoft will make the announcement of its new CEO, but rumor has it that the company wants to wrap up the transition by the end of this year.

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