According to the grapevine, Ford’s head man Alan Mulally is currently leading the race for Microsoft’s CEO position. Former Nokia boss Stephen Elop and a few internal candidates are following close behind.

But ask the man, and you will find that jumping ship to join Redmond is not quite what he has in mind for the near future — even though he admits that Microsoft is a great company.

In an interview with USA Today, the CEO of Ford said that he wants to continue serving Ford for the time being, which means that a switch to Microsoft is not really possible. He was quoted as saying:

“I love serving Ford and have nothing new to add to (my) plans to continue serving Ford.”

Along with (seemingly) downplaying the rumors, Mulally did note that Microsoft is a great company. Surely he was speaking from experience, as Ford and Microsoft have worked together on SYNC, an infotainment system that is installed on many Ford models.

Microsoft, on the other hand, wants him anyway.

Bloomberg is reporting that the Redmond board has put Mulally high on the shortlist, and could start negotiations with the Ford leader in the very near future.

Word is that there are only a select few names on Microsoft’s list as the company searches for a new CEO. If talks with Mulally fail, then Stephen Elop will be in prime position to take over from Ballmer. Insider sources hint that the company is looking to announce the new CEO by the end of the year.

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