Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) has trimmed its list of external candidates to only five now, which includes Ford Motor Co chief Alan Mulally and Stephon Elop ex CEO of Nokia, to replace current Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, says a report from Reuters citing sources familiar with the matter. Ballmer, in August, revealed plans to retire within a year.

The company initially started with 40 names, but now has narrowed it down to few, however, still the process may take a couple of months, sources confirmed.

Internal list also narrowed

 The software giant has also short listed at least three internal candidates for the coveted post; Tony Bates former CEO of Skype, who is presently heading Microsoft’s business development and Satya Nadella the cloud and enterprise chief, according to Reuters.

The identities of the other candidates on the list could not be revealed, but the committee is considering candidates from other sectors such as life sciences and consumer, also.

Microsoft refused to say anything on the process as well as about the internal candidates. Ford spokesman Jay Cooney told Reuters, “There is no change from what we announced last November. Alan remains fully focused on continuing to make progress on our One Ford plan.”

Some investors object reelection of Ballmer, Gates

In recent times, investors have voiced that someone like Mulally or CEO of Computer Science Corp. Mike Lawrie, who are a turnaround expert, should replace Ballmer. Some investors even went on to say that co-founder Bill Gates should resign as the Chairman as he is hindering radical changes in Microsoft.

Microsoft last month exceeded the Wall Street’s quarterly profit and revenue projections moreover earning high profits, but the software giant is losing in mobile computing to Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Google Inc (GOOG).

During his tenure, Ballmer concentrated on making Surface Tablet and Xbox gaming, along with converting the key software’s into service on the internet. Some of the investors believe that the new chief should not restrict itself to these strategies, also as now Bill gates and Ballmer are up for reelection, they might retain their dominance over the company.

Gates, who have been focused on philanthropy since he left his office on campus in 2008, also people close to him, believe he is not keen for the CEO position.