Mulally, Elop, Bates: Bill Gates Comments on Microsoft’s CEO Search

Microsoft founder and chairman Bill Gates won’t say when he expects the company will name a CEO to replace Steve Ballmer, but he is happy with the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant’s progress in finding a successor.

Gates told shareholders on Tuesday that he’s extremely proud of the work Ballmer who announced earlier this year that he’ll be retiring in 2014 has done as Microsoft’s chief executive officer. The company has been fairly mum about who’s in line to fill his shoes, but it’s been widely reported that the finalists are Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, former Skype CEO Tony Bates (who’s now a Microsoft employee thanks to the company’s acquisition of the video-chat giant) and Ford CEO Alan Mulally, Reuters noted.

Elop is coming to Microsoft via another pending acquisition, that of Nokia’s devices and services unit. Some have argued that the software company would be better off looking to someone from outside the tech industry notably Mulally who would be able to bring a different perspective to the business.

Microsoft is trying to gain a better foothold in the mobile industry with its Windows Phone operating system. It hopes to offset some of its losses caused by consumers’ shift from traditional PCs  to tablets.

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