Microsoft falls; Street worried Mulally won't be named CEO

|By:, SA News Editor

Microsoft (MSFT -1.4%) is down 3% over the last two days, as worries grow (thanks to John Thompson's recent comments) Alan Mulally (F -6.7%) won't be named Steve Ballmer's successor.

Nomura's Rick Sherlund, who not long ago predicted Mulally would be Microsoft's next CEO, now wonders if the Bill Gates quote included in Thompson's remarks indicates "the board is rethinking the role and looking more exhaustively at candidates from the technology field."

Moreover, if reports about Ford's board pressing Mulally to give "a definitive answer" regarding his future plans are accurate, Sherlund thinks "he might need to pull his hat out of the ring at some point soon."

Like others on the Street, he's worried a CEO with an IT background won't be as "shareholder-friendly" as Mulally. Sherlund has previously suggested Mulally might cut costs, boost capital returns, and unload Xbox and Bing.

However, FBR's Daniel Ives still thinks Mulally has a shot. He observes today's Ford business update contained no discussion of Mulally's plans, as many expected.