The Wall Street Journal also reported Friday that an executive on the CEO-search committee said the board did not push Steve Ballmer to step down.
Ballmer said in August he would retire within 12 months. He told the Journal that he couldn't lead the company forward and referred to himself as "an emblem of an old era."
(Read more: Oracle's Mark Hurd: Microsoft move 'not planned' )
Investors and the board of directors were pushing for a fast transformation, especially in the areas Ballmer had overlooked: phone, tablet and Internet services. An executive on the CEO-search committee said the board did not push Ballmer to step down but rather to go faster, the newspaper reported.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the board's list of chief executive candidates include Ford CEO Alan Mulally; Satya Nadella, Microsoft enterprise software chief; and former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop.
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