Save the extra bottle of bubbly you were planning to toast Microsoft's new CEO with for next year. We won't have our Steve Ballmer replacement before 2013 is up.
John W. Thompson, the Microsoft director leading the CEO hunt, has provided an update on how the search for Redmond's next big man or woman on campus is going, concluding that he expects the new CEO to be appointed "in the early part of 2014."
The search sounds akin to an American Idol city-by-city audition run, with over 100 candidates identified from a wide range of industries, several dozen spoken to, and a final group of "about 20" chosen from there.
As the pool has narrowed, more extensive research and investigations on the candidates have been conducted, Thompson explained, but there's no clear winner yet.
And your new CEO is...
The front-runners are rumored to include former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, Ford CEO Alan Mulally (who one Ford board member said would stay at the car maker through 2014) and recently Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Group head Satya Nadella.
Thompson wrote today that Microsoft has looked both inside and outside the company for its next No.1. He interestingly iterated the need for someone who can "lead a highly technical organization and work with top technical talent."
That technical-heavy line certainly hints that the company wants someone with computational expertise, though the ability to comprehend and communicate tech talk is by no means limited to those in the industry.
Enjoy the holidays, everyone
Several reports have indicated Microsoft wanted to wrap up its search before the end of the calendar year, but in a desire to not bungle the decision, has given itself more time.
Of course, Ballmer's plan has always been to step-down within 12 months of his retirement announcement, so the board is well within the time frame to keep the hunt going.
Making such an era-shifting decision during the holidays is probably not the best course of action either, so for now let's all sit back, relax, and ride out 2013 with Ballmer still at the helm.