(Corrects to show answered questions, not asked them in third
By Bill Rigby
BELLEVUE, Wash. Nov 19 Microsoft Corp
Chairman Bill Gates said on Tuesday he was pleased with the
software company's progress in finding a new chief executive and
that the search committee had spoken to a number of candidates,
but did not give a date by which he expected a new leader to
replace the retiring Steve Ballmer.
Speaking at Microsoft's annual shareholder meeting in
Bellevue, Washington, Gates paused briefly and choked up with
emotion as he thanked Ballmer for his work at the company.
Gates then left the stage and sat in the front row of an
audience of around 400 people, alongside other members of the
board. That was a departure from previous years when he remained
onstage and occasionally answered questions.
Microsoft has not shed much light on its CEO search, but
sources close to the process have told Reuters the company has
narrowed its shortlist of candidates to just a handful.
Those sources have said the candidates include Ford Motor Co
chief Alan Mulally and former Nokia CEO Stephen
Elop, as well as former Skype CEO and internal candidate Tony
Bates, now responsible for Microsoft's business development.
Microsoft remains highly profitable and last month beat Wall
Street's quarterly profit and revenue forecasts.
But the company has come under criticism for missing some of
the largest technology shifts in the past few years from
Internet search to social networking, and Apple Inc and
Google Inc are now at the vanguard of a mobile
computing revolution that's eroding its core PC-based business.
(Reporting by Bill Rigb; , editing by Gerald E. McCormick,