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Ford's Alan Mulally: I won't take Microsoft CEO job

After months as a rumoured front-runner for Microsoft's soon-to-be-open chief executive position, Ford CEO Alan Mulally has reportedly stated that he will not be taking the job.

"I would like to end the Microsoft speculation because I have no other plans to do anything other than serve Ford," Mulally said in an interview with the Associated Press published Tuesday.

The news agency said Mulally planned to remain at Ford through the end of 2014 and possibly longer, in keeping with plans the car maker made in November 2012.

The AP report could tie up of at least one loose thread in the ongoing gossip around who will be chosen to replace Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft.

Who Will Replace Ballmer at Microsoft?

Ballmer announced last August that he'd be stepping down as Microsoft chief within a year. In early September, the software giant announced a blockbuster deal to acquire Nokia's handset business for $7.2 billion (£4.4 billion) — news that immediately vaulted Nokia CEO Elop to the head of the speculative list of Ballmer's successors.

But later that month, All Things D reported that Mulally had "vaulted to the forefront of the candidates to become the new CEO of Microsoft."

As recently as November, Mulally was still being tipped as one of the top candidates to replace Ballmer, along with Elop and Skype chief Tony Bates.

Backers of Mulally for the top job in Redmond pointed to his success at turning Ford around, his extensive experience in the CEO role, and his engineering background from his days at Boeing at the start of his career.

Elop, who headed Microsoft's Business Division before taking over Nokia in 2010, has returned to Redmond as part of the Nokia deal.

Bates is another internal candidate for the top spot, having joined the software giant following Skype's acquisition by Microsoft in 2011.

Image: Flickr (Thomas Hawk)