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Ford CEO Mulally makes it official: Not joining Microsoft

After months of rumors, Alan Mulally makes public his decision to stay at Ford and not take over as Steve Ballmer's replacement.

Ford Motor Company President and Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally.
Bill Pugliano

Ford CEO Alan Mulally said today that he will not leave the company to join Microsoft.

In an interview with the Associated Press on Tuesday, the highly-coveted executive said that he would stay with Ford at least through 2014. In the last year, speculation about a replacement for outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had centered on Mulally trading corporate logos. Mulally told the AP that he wanted to quash the Microsoft speculation.

Give the man credit for being consistent. In this 2012 interview, Mulally said that he intended to remain with Ford at least through the end of 2014.

So if not Mulally, then who? Microsoft's not commenting. A spokesman's official response was, "Out of respect for the process and the potential candidates, we don't comment on individual names." But previous rumors have fingered former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, Microsoft Executive VP Tony Bates, and Microsoft cloud and enterprise chief Satya Nadella as being on the short list of candidates. Then again, it could be a Shoeless Joe from Hannibal, Mo., sleeper who's been flying well below the radar.

In a blog post published before the holiday break, board member John Thompson, who is leading the CEO search, wrote that he expected the committee would complete its work by "the early part of 2014."

Update, 3:44 p.m. PT: Adds Microsoft declining to comment.