You know things are moving towards their logical conclusion when you have people that back someone for a post start making statements in the media. The special committee tasked with finding a new CEO for Microsoft seems to have entered the business end of the deal.

Bill Gates, not so long ago, said that progress has been made in the search for a new Redmond leader, and a recent report brought the number of frontrunners down to two.

Alan Mulally of Ford and Microsoft internal Satya Nadella are now said to be the leading candidates.

But people familiar with the matter, talking to AllThingsD have opined that Tony Bates, the executive vice president of Business Development, Strategy and Evangelism at Microsoft should be the one to take over the hot seat from Steve Ballmer.

One of the people backing Bates said:

“Tony is a bold choice that would say a lot to the rest of the tech world that Microsoft is ready to engage. Mulally makes sense only if the board wants a transitional figure, which means it basically doesn’t know what to do yet.”

Bates has notable management experience at Cisco, at a time when the company had no less than 12,000 employees. He joined Microsoft after the Skype acquisition, and has been onboard for a fair amount of time now.

With an official announcement expected later this month, we should know whether Bates was a strong contender for the vacant position soon enough.

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  • Rodney Longoria

    Alan Mulally should not be considered for discussion, in my opinion. Nice guy and all, and if he was 20 years younger, I’d be all for him. Tony Bates is in the sweet spot.

    • Ray C

      Many people make the argument that someone from a different type of company might have a different way of thinking. As long as they’re not lap dogs to share holders, I’m fine with a few choices. Personally, I think the direction they’re on now is the right one with devices and services.

      • Rodney Longoria

        Hey @disqus_aUjJoK3PRk:disqus,

        Alan didn’t know squat about the auto industry either, so I don’t hold that against him exactly. It’s his age (look who is talking, eh? LOL!) that makes me think he should not be considered. He himself has said he wants to retire next year.

        I agree about the devices and services direction.

        • Ray C

          Well, people keep talking about temporary hires or hiring two people