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Alan Mulally, the current CEO of Ford Motor Company, who was up for consideration to take over the position of Microsoft’s new CEO, has been taken out of contention for Steve Ballmer’s soon-to-be-old job. According to a Bloomberg report, the car company’s director Edsel Ford II explained that Mullaly’s continuing position with the American car-maker:

“Frankly, he has told us that his plan is to stay with Ford through the end of 2014.”

Since Ballmer’s leaving Microsoft in fewer than 12 months, that would seem to take Mulally right out of the race for the CEO position. And it seems that more than a few Microsoft shareholders were fans of the idea that Mulally would come aboard, as the company’s stock dropped once news that the Ford CEO wouldn’t leave his company for Redmond. A post on TechCrunch reports that Microsoft’s stock dropped “around 3.5 percent, or around $1.43 per share.” From there, the post surmised that Microsoft was suddenly “worth around $12 billion less than before.”

Ouch. Rejection hurts, but never by that much.

It’s worth noting that Mulally would’ve probably been a decent choice as the new CEO, at least in terms of the guy’s track record up until now. He took over as Ford’s CEO in 2006, right around the time the company’s financial fortunes really started to sour, just before the big United States financial crisis in 2008. He borrowed $23.6 billion in federal bailout money—and used it to turn the company back around to profitability. From what I’ve been able to find, the money’s still in the process of being paid back to the treasury, and under Mulally’s leadership, it seems that the company’s been a good “corporate citizen” in terms of repaying its debts.

Microsoft, by comparison, is in nowhere near as bad a shape as Ford was when all this went down. As such, I suppose that Microsoft-watchers would’ve enjoyed seeing what Mulally could’ve done with a healthier and more flexible company. But now that he’s no longer a viable candidate for the job, and since we haven’t heard much about former Nokia boss Stephen Elop getting the job, the TechCrunch post notes that Microsoft executive vice president Satya Nadella is the likely choice.

So that’s the question of the day: will Microsoft’s next CEO come from within, or without? And which choice is better? Microsoft’s shareholders seem to have a pretty specific preference—but we’ll have to wait and see what happens to know which is better in the long run.

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