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Who gets the gig? Microsoft to narrow its list of CEO candidates today

Forget American Idol and Survivor, this is the cut-down meeting that the world should be paying attention to.

Microsoft’s board will be meeting today to narrow the firm’s choices for the next to assume the role of CEO, reports Bloomberg. This comes after current Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced his retirement this past August. While Ballmer still currently holds the position, he will step down from his throne sometime next year. Microsoft’s board aims to trim the list of CEO candidates to anywhere from three to five names.

The top candidates include Stephen Elop, the former CEO of Nokia, who has a history of employment with Microsoft. Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford, is also up for consideration. Internal candidates for the top job at Microsoft include COO Kevin Turner, as well as fellow Redmond high-rollers Tony Bates and Satya Nadella.

After multiple stumbles in the last 10 years, including Windows Vista, Windows 8, Zune, Surface, and other projects, Microsoft may be looking to go outside of the mainstream tech scene to find its next CEO. According to Bloomberg, Microsoft’s board feels that big changes need to come to the firm; and, therefore, an external candidate without experience in the tech industry might be the best way to go.

Clearly, some things need to reshuffled at Microsoft in order to make it properly competitive with Apple and Google, both of which are successful hardware manufacturers. Recent Microsoft hardware, whether its Surface or Windows Phone 8 devices, have lagged in terms of consumer adoption. The new CEO will need to ensure that Microsoft products are attractive to consumers as the mega-firm transitions to a role as a maker of consumer hardware as well as software.