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Microsoft Losing Mollenkopf Shows Challenge of CEO Hunt

Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates told shareholders last month the software maker’s chief executive officer is a “complex role to fill.” As the board seeks a final candidate, it’s finding out just how right he is.

Steve Mollenkopf, Qualcomm Inc.’s No. 2 executive, was named CEO Dec. 12, taking the 44-year-old out of the running to replace Steve Ballmer at Microsoft. While Alan Mulally, Ford Motor Co.’s CEO, is considered a candidate to lead Microsoft, his star faded amid concerns about his age, 68, and lack of technology experience, people with knowledge of the search have said. EBay Inc. CEO John Donahoe and former VMware Inc. CEO Paul Maritz declined to be considered, people with knowledge of the matter have said.