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back to article Ford says Microsoft CEO target Mulally not going anywhere

The Chairman of the Ford Motor Company said that CEO Alan Mulally will not be leaving the company to take over the same position at Microsoft. Speaking in an interview with Bloomberg TV, Ford director Edsel Ford II said that Mulally would remain with the company through next year rather than take over the CEO chair in Redmond …

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Bronze badge

cars are not computers

I cannot believe the Microsoft board would be clueless enough to hire a car exec. He might have done a brilliant job with cars, but Microsoft's business is completely different. Ballmer was capable enough as an administrator, but he was not a visionary. He was good enough at milking their established markets, but his failure to see the importance of mobile and tablets, or to put decent products into those areas, has sewn the seeds of Microsoft's demise, or certainly its total dominance. Apple too is sinking now they've put an accountant in charge.

The British car industry since the 60s declined for the same reasons. The German companies prospered and still do because they put highly qualified engineers in charge. Technology companies' long term success rests of having leaders who fundamentally understand the technology, not people who are good and looking at profit and loss accounts and firing people.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: cars are not computers

Yet people always make car analogies for IT.

Seriously though, a car company is a similar company to a software company like MS. They have to do R&D, they have lots of engineers, they have to produce a stable, safe product.

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Computers are not that different

When it comes to running a company, the basics of business analysis are really not much different whether you're making computers, cars or fizzy drinks. You're still dealing with customers, marketing, product development etc.

But if you still insist that computers are different, then comsider that these days most cars are just networks on wheels with tens of CPUs in them. Software development makes up a considerable part of any new car development and software issues are a big part of the car maker's market & legal issues (eg. recent Toyota issues).

Viewed that way, Ford *is* a software company, the only difference being that people take it more personally when the software crahses.

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Re: Computers are not that different

"When it comes to running a company, the basics of business analysis are really not much different whether you're making computers, cars or fizzy drinks. You're still dealing with customers, marketing, product development etc."

Yeah, This guy said almost the same thing when he took over Commodore.

He's remembered as 'The End of Commodore'.

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Re: cars are not computers

Hey Apple hired a fizzy drinks guy, that worked out well for them ;) <cough>

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Windows

Re: cars are not computers

Actually it makes perfect sense that Microsoft would replace someone who merely has the demeanour of a car salesman with one who's actually qualified.

I just hope they don't start actually making cars, because that could get nasty.

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Re: cars are not computers

I worked for Ford back in 2008 when Mulally joined.

At the time, there were cries of derision within the company that he wasn't a car guy and didn't understand the industry, as he'd had no previous experience in the automotive sector (having previously headed up Boeing)

I can't see any difference here.

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Re: cars are not computers

Well said.

The Analogy between cars and computers is hyperbole.

If cars were like computers then we would never have quality cars made that become classics.

Or put another way Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft has been in business since 1890 and NOT some Johnny come lately company like Microsoft or Apple who don't have even 50 years heritage. Will they last ....I doubt.

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Re: Computers are not that different

How much do you reckon Coke spend on product development? I'd have thought after New Coke they'd save the money and spend it somewhere else.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Computers are not that different

Coke do produce rather a lot more than just the "coke" product line.

There's Desani, obviously not if you're in the UK after the slight screw up at launch revealing that it's just Thames water, put through an RO filter and re-mineralised... But really, coke have a lot of product development.

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Thumb Up

Re: cars are not computers

I think you hit an important point here: Will they last?

I claim again: my grandchildren will not know who Microsoft is or was.

Do you remember Wang, Olivetti, etc? Or even your President Nixon?

/Zane

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Joke

Re: cars are not computers

"I just hope they don't start actually making cars, because that could get nasty."

I can see it now. Introducing the new Microsoft Car 8.0 featuring a square steering wheel but no start button. Instead, to use the vehicle you must push a series of tiles on the included touchscreen which is always on by default. Next year, Microsoft will introduce Car 8.1 with an included start button, but the start button only activates the touch screen and doesn't actually start the vehicle.

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Windows

Re: cars & airplanes are not computers...wrong

Frankly, a distinguished aircraft engineer is better bet than some shmuck who’s pimped his butt round Silicon Valley or some fizzy-drinks vendor. Boing & Ford are serious engineering companies that under Mulally have gone to great lengths not to kill people (that wasn’t always the case). Microsoft needs to focus on solid engineering that nobody would want to replace; while scaling a large scale cloud that everybody could trust.

Given time Nokia phones & tablets will beat Apple by scaling solid engineering with clever quality supply-chain, which Boing & Ford have excelled at with standards.

2015 is not too long to wait for the right candidate.. and Bill can fill-in as interim-CEO until then

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Anonymous Coward

Re: cars are not computers

""Frankly, he has told us that his plan is to stay with Ford through the end of 2014," Ford was quoted as saying."

LOL. Sure he did....Doesn't mean that he will....

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Re: Computers are not that different

"There's Desani"

Ah - yes Coke's "Peckham Spring".....

As it's presumably lost on those from the colonies see http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/onlyfools/christmas/1992.shtml

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Silver badge

Re: cars are not computers

Square steering wheels are old technology, I once owned an Austin All-aggro with one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: cars are not computers

Microsoft had already hired plenty of nincompoops, what harm can a car exec do? ;p

Examples of nincompoops: Amy Hood, Julie Larson-Green, Don Mattrick (who left earlier this year) and that other guy who used to work for Walmart - Kevin Turner.

Nevertheless, good on Mulally for recognizing and dodging a bullet.

My money's on Stephen Elop. He'll lead Microsoft to interesting new places...

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"Skype chief Tony Bates"

I don't know anything about Tony Bates, but seeing as he has presided over the production of a service that screams out for a simple interface, yet has been released with an inconsistent, unintuituve, convoluted POS, I guess there won't be much changing at Microsoft in the near future.

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Trollface

lmao

>Ford director Edsel Ford II

Wow the Edsel is the gift that keeps on giving many decades later (to Euro readers who probably know but Edsel was arguable the worst lemon car Detroit ever put out which is saying something). Yet another reason you should never name a product after a family member. If you lay a turd people will be laughing at their name generations later.

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Windows

Re: lmao

I don't know, with Windows Vista and the Zune, MS might give the Ford Edsel a run for it's money!!

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Coat

Re: lmao

Fixed Or Repaired Daily? Yep, that sounds like a Microsoft OS to a tee!

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FAIL

Re: giving the Edsel a run for it's money

Microsoft Bob, nuff said

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Silver badge

Elop will do an amazing job

I can't wait for him to get started.

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Re: Elop will do an amazing job

What, great job reducing a company's market share to single digit percentages?

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Re: Elop will do an amazing job

Verily Brother Mikel, at last the prophesised "Year of Linux on the Desktop" is at hand!

(a.k.a. The year of Windows Live 8.2 Permanently On-Line Subscription Service Cock-punch Edition" or "April Fool 365" for short)

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I want to see Elop get the job just for the sheer entertainment value. I suspect he will either be an amazing success or a complete disaster, either of which ought to be great to watch.

None of the other candidates fill me with much excitement.

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Missing the point

This article makes a craap conclusion since Balmer was already planning to be around for one year, he can easily extend a few months and hand over to Mulaly when the latter has completed executing whatever stategies at Boeing are keeping him there.

As for choice, it would be the wrong one, IT still needs a visionary leader.

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