Disagreements surface about the next Microsoft CEO

There have only been two CEOs for Microsoft. As they prepare to pick the third, differences between the powers that be are starting to surface.

Microsoft Corp.’s search for a new chief executive is exposing divisions of opinion among directors over the 38-year-old company’s future direction and what it needs in its next leader.

Directors on Microsoft’s CEO search committee have approached at least two Microsoft executives and at least eight outsiders to gauge their interest in the job, according to people familiar with the matter. Those people said the outsiders include Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Alan Mulally , Oracle Corp. President Mark Hurd and Nokia Corp. executive Stephen Elop , already scheduled to join Microsoft when it completes the acquisition of Nokia’s cellphone unit, expected early next year.

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