With Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) set to replace the outgoing Steve Ballmer, it appears that the Redmond, WA-based former giant is keen to make the switch sooner rather than later. Reporting at present suggests that the company has no interest in beginning calender year 2014 with Ballmer at the helm.

John Donahoe Ebay

Ebay CEO declines Microsoft’s offer

The board has apparently winnowed its list by either eliminating candidates or having acceptable candidates rebuff Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s interest. According to two people who wish to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, it appears that eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) CEO John Donahoe declined to be considered for the position. It’s believed that he was the choice of Charles Giancarlo, former Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) executive and present managing directer of private-equity firm Silver Lake. Giancarlo was approached by the Microsoft board to help in its search.

It’s believed that the preliminary interviews that have been conducted included Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) CEO Alan Mulally as well as Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) CEO Stepen Elop, who will join Microsoft once the Nokia Handset acquisition closes. It’s also believed that two former Microsoft employees remain in consideration: former Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) No. 3 Paul Maritz and Microsoft evangelist Tony Bates.

The two people familiar with the negotiations said, on condition of anonymity, that the timing of the announcement would come after compensation was finalized, or in the case of an outside candidate taking the position, the departure from their present jobs would be a factor.

Microsoft’s Tablet market competition

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), however, simply can’t rest on its laurels if it expects to catch up to both Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the handset and tablet markets that it wishes to compete in. The candidate will also be charged with the integration of Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) into the company in order to provide the “services and devices” that may someday return Microsoft to the throne it vacated over the last decade.

Microsoft, as expected, has declined to comment on who will become only the third CEO in the company’s 38 year history. The same holds true for the executive-search firm Heidrick & Struggles that Microsoft has retained to help in the appointment and transition.

Everyone is remaining mum on the subject.

Donahoe made no comments

Jennifer Hakes, a spokeswoman for eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY), said Donahoe wasn’t available for comment. Susan Sheehan, a spokeswoman for Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V), declined to comment, as did David Oro, a spokesman for Pivotal. Gordon Goldstein, a spokesman for Silver Lake, didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

“Alan continues to focus on executing the One Ford plan, and we don’t engage in speculation,” Jay Cooney, a Ford spokesman, said by telephone of Mulally.

Does the fact that one spokesman agreed to speak with Bloomberg signify a shift to Mulally? We shall see before the end of the year.