What's Wrong With Microsoft Corporation Stock Today?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is having another red day, trading down 0.4% in early action. One of the august index's biggest losers is Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) , thanks to bad news about the search for a new CEO. Ford (NYSE: F  ) leader Alan Mulally most certainly won't take the Microsoft job, removing one of the best potential candidates from Microsoft investors' wish lists.

"I would like to end the Microsoft speculation because I have no other plans to do anything other than serve Ford," Mulally told AP in an interview. "You don't have to worry about me leaving [Ford]."

So there you have it. Perhaps the best turnaround specialist on the market turns out not to be on the market at all. Ford investors love to see that their proven winner will stay at the car company's wheel, while Redmond's shareholders despair. Microsoft shares plunged as much as 1.8% overnight while Ford shares surged as much as 2.1% higher on a generally gloomy trading day.

All bets are off, because there's really no telling who will take Steve Ballmer's job at Microsoft anymore.

The board of directors may have to elevate an insider like COO Kevin Turner or hardware chief Julie Larson-Green, but then they'd run the risk of simply reinforcing the status quo and dooming Microsoft to another few years under the unfocused strategy of recent years.

Is Bill Ruh the next Microsoft CEO? Crazier things have happened. Image source: GE.

I would prefer to see an outsider swoop in to claim the Microsoft throne, followed by a wholesale rebuilding of the board that selected him or her. General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) is a well-known talent farm for future CEOs, and the company is getting deeper into next-generation computing than its investors have noticed -- why not grab GE's global software head Bill Ruh before he becomes way too important for GE to lose?

If Ruh isn't the final choice here, I sincerely hope that Microsoft is at least looking at fresh-thinking candidates in his mold. This would be a terrible time to rest on Microsoft's admittedly cushy laurels, but a great time to apply the software giant's massive resources to entirely new ideas. Pick another protector of the old ways, and Microsoft stock is dead money for the foreseeable future.

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Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On January 08, 2014, at 2:26 PM, emilykulish wrote:

    The wall street is wrong. Microsoft needs a younger person to run the company, not Mulally at 68. He has no clue and thus no vision about software and technology business.

  • Report this Comment On January 08, 2014, at 3:12 PM, Sporitus wrote:

    MSFT needs the active entrepreneur CEO, not old-school manufacture jerk.

  • Report this Comment On January 09, 2014, at 12:15 PM, jewelrywolf wrote:

    No you are not understanding Microsoft as you think you are. Microsoft needs rejuvenating and that's not what Mr. Mullaly can do. He's good at selling things and pushing down the salaries. It good for old manufactory industry but that'd be deadly for Microsoft or any IT company.

    IBM turns to be a no body after years of selling IT department. And the way Melissa tries to revive Yahoo is acquiring startups not shrinking product lines.

    Salary is not the problem of IT. Researches found IT top talents count directly decide the market cap of company like google facebook dropbox or pinterest.

    So I'm quit happy that Mr. Mullaly is out of the picture now and lets find someone young and visionary to fill in.

    I'm very happy to see

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Anders Bylund

Anders Bylund is a Foolish Technology and Entertainment Specialist. Where the two markets intersect, you'll find his wheelhouse. He has been an official Fool since 2006 but a jester all his life.

Hypoallergenic. Contains six flavors not found in nature. Believes in coyotes and time as an abstract.

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