Microsoft has been hunting for a new CEO to replace Steve Ballmer since August — the company has said it hopes to get someone on board before the end of 2013 — and now a new name has entered the running. According to a report from Bloomberg, Microsoft is said to be considering Qualcomm Chief Operating Officer Steve Mollenkopf for the job. Mollenkopf joins the rest of Microsoft's rumored short list, which is reported to include Ford CEO Alan Mulally, former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, Microsoft cloud boss Satya Nadella, and former Skype president Tony Bates.
At the same time, it's looking like Mulally is becoming a less likely candidate; earlier reports had him pegged as a front runner, but Bloomberg's sources indicate that he has faded as a leading candidate over the past two weeks due to concerns with his lack of technological experience. At the same time, a Ford board member said that Mulally was planning to stay with Ford through the end of 2014. A lack of technology experience wouldn't be an issue for Mollenkopf if he becomes Microsoft's CEO — he's worked with Qualcomm since 1994 and is now second in charge at one of the leading mobile chip manufacturers. Qualcomm's success in mobile might be a factor that makes Mollenkopf more attractive as the company continues to make its Windows Phone platform a key part of its strategy for the future.