Sources tell Bloomberg that Microsoft (MSFT) is closing in a successor to outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer and is looking to install a new chief executive by the end of the year.
The software giant’s board has been discussing the position with a range of potential candidates, including Ford’s (F) Alan Mulally and Nokia‘s (NOK) former CEO Stephen Elop. However, some corporate chieftains like eBay (EBAY) head John Donahoe have already signaled a lack of interest in running Microsoft, trimming the list of possible replacements.
Microsoft is hoping to complete the succession process as quickly as possible. The software-maker is facing rising competition in the technology market from Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG), and has made little headway in the mobile device market despite significant investments.
The installation of a new CEO at Microsoft could be delayed by compensation negotiations and a candidate’s commitment to a current employer.
Ballmer announced his retirement in August.
The company has increased its commitment to becoming a force in the smartphone market by purchasing struggling Finnish handset maker Nokia.
Shares of Microsoft climbed more than 1% in Thursday morning trading.