This "news," by the way, is apparently causing Microsoft (MSFT) shares to fall. Shortly after noon, shares were trading down $1.54 to $37.41.
The amazing thing, to me, is that Ford and Mulally have been saying consistently for more than a year that Mulally would stay at Ford through 2014. Our September story was among many to reiterate that.
Nothing has changed, except that Bloomberg News reported this morning that Edsel Ford II, a Ford director, said that Mulally will stay through the end of 2014.
"Alan is staying through the end of 2014 and that's all I know," Ford, great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford, said this morning at the Mustang rollout in Dearborn, Mich., Bloomberg reported.
I could never understand all the reporting that had Mulally leaving, despite continued denials from Ford and Mulally. Is it that the denials were not strong enough?
In September, one of the times when Mulally-to-Microsoft talk crested, Ford spokesman Jay Cooney said: "There is no change from what we announced in November (2012)-- Alan Mulally plans to continue to serve as Ford's president and CEO through at least 2014."
It is worth noting that convincing Mulally to go to work for you is not all that easy. In fact, only two companies have ever done it and one, Boeing (BA), got him straight out of college. He is now 68 years old.
Nevertheless, Microsoft investors, spurred by reporters who cover Microsoft, chose to believe for months that a celebrity CEO from industrial America would make the transition to technological America. On the auto industry reporting side, no sign of confirmation ever emerged. The auto industry is covered by a lot of good reporters, all of them in Detroit, and I don't think they miss much.
Microsoft's leaders, I assume, are much like the rest of us: They hear what they want to hear. They are, however, billions of dollars wealthier than the rest of us, so I imagine they do not generally expect that someone might conceivably tell them no.
I think someone did.