The WSJ reports external candidates contacted by Microsoft (MSFT) during its drawn-out CEO search "have expressed concerns about being hamstrung" by Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, should they remain on the company's board.
Candidates are said to be particularly nervous about Ballmer remaining involved, and question whether he would stand idly if a new CEO embraced a very different strategy from his own.
Nonetheless, Gates and Ballmer (combined 8.3% stake in Microsoft) reportedly lack veto power over Microsoft's CEO choice.
Director/search committee chief John Thompson stated last month Microsoft expects to finish its CEO search in early 2014, and (citing comments from Gates) suggested the company was looking for a candidate able to lead "a highly technical organization." Shortly before that, Bloomberg reported Ford CEO Alan Mulally's candidacy had "faded" due to concerns about his lack of an IT background.