The company got through the great recession without a bailout, making it a firm investor favorite. But in the last year, GM shareholders have seen gains of 35% on their investment. Ford investors saw just 13%

Ford, in fact, has seemed to stall lately while Mulally has been under consideration in Redmond. It's much the way a sports team can lose games when its boss is being considered for a bigger job. Revenue isn't growing. Neither is operating income. While the company can still report success, especially in China, seven analysts rating the stock now call it a hold; nine call it a buy.

Based on this week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, moreover, it would seem that Ford needs more leaders with Microsoft experience, rather than Microsoft needing Ford types.

Car companies were all over this year's show. GM executives are talking about giving cars broadband Internet service, and Ford is talking up integration with smartphones. Google (GOOG), which has been working on self-driving cars, announced an "Open Automotive Alliance" built around its Android platform to counter a similar Apple (AAPL) initiative based on its iOS.

If, while talking to Microsoft, Mulally has learned some things he can apply to Ford's future, his dalliance with it may prove to have been worthwhile.

Just so long as he doesn't bring Detroit the "Blue Screen of Death."

At the time of publication, the author owned shares in GOOG and AAPL.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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