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Steve Ballmer To Step Down As Microsoft CEO

Jonathan Lester
CEO, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer

Steve Ballmer To Step Down As Microsoft CEO

"Microsoft Has All Its Best Days Ahead"

Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer will retire from his position within the year, having spent more than three decades at the company. The search for a replacement begins.

Ballmer announced his decision in an internal Microsoft email, which was transcribed in an official press release entitled "moving forward."

“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” he wrote.“My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our transformation to a devices and services company focused on empowering customers in the activities they value most. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction.

“I will retire as CEO of Microsoft within the next 12 months, after a successor is chosen. There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time.

“I am proud of what we have achieved. We have grown from $7.5 million to nearly $78 billion since I joined Microsoft, and we have grown from employing just over 30 people to almost 100,000. I feel good about playing a role in that success and having committed 100 percent emotionally all the way."

Ballmer was the first business manager Bill Gates ever hired, joining Microsoft back in 1980. Since then, he headed up several divisions before being promoted to Chief Executive Officer in 2000. Though primarily famed for his "enthusiastic" public appearances and a few bullish decisions over the last few years, he's certainly made an impact.

He'll now oversee the hunt for a replacement, backed up by a special committee greenlit by the Microsoft Board. Bill Gates joins him in the search, alongside independent director John Thompson, Chairman of the Compensation Committee Steve Luczo and Chairman of the Audit Committee Chuck Noski (no, not Norris).

"This is an emotional and difficult thing for me to do," Ballmer concluded. "I take this step in the best interests of the company I love; it is the thing outside of my family and closest friends that matters to me most.

"Microsoft has all its best days ahead. Know you are part of the best team in the industry and have the right technology assets. We cannot and will not miss a beat in these transitions. I am focused and driving hard and know I can count on all of you to do the same. Let’s do ourselves proud."

Microsoft share prices have jumped by 7.8% following the news.

It's perhaps an odd time for Microsoft to search for a new top dog, especially since the company absolutely needs strong and decisive leadership during this critical next-gen console transition phase, alongside the continuing push to cement Windows 8's popularity and rebrand as a services provider. What do you make of it?

Add a comment4 comments
Tsung  Aug. 23, 2013 at 15:46

"It's an odd time for Microsoft to search for a new top dog,"

"It's about time for Microsoft to search for a new top dog,"

There fixed it for ya !

Microsoft's biggest mistake was keep him in charge; almost fatal mistake. Microsoft has been playing Catch up for years and now it's suffering for it. Now lets see who replaces him, I believe anyone who threatened his job was removed one way or another.

JonLester  Aug. 23, 2013 at 15:57

@Tsung: I'm sure you won't be the only person who thinks that way - not to put too fine a point on it, we've certainly called him out regularly over the last few years. The share price jump is certainly suggestive.

That said, I do personally feel that Microsoft needs to demonstrate a fully united front right now to cement a strong Gamescom showing - especially after all the U-turns made them look somewhat indecisive. I hope that the hunt for a new CEO doesn't cause them to take their eye off the ball, not now of all times. Just my two cents.

Either way, we're looking forward to seeing who Ballmer's successor will be, and whether they bring some fresh blood with them into the higher echelons of the company. A few more creatively-minded colleagues might not go amiss.

EDIT: I'm sure we'll be on base with some Game Of Thrones jokes once the ball starts rolling.

Last edited by JonLester, Aug. 23, 2013 at 15:58
Anarchist  Aug. 23, 2013 at 16:45

You know you've not done a good job, when people value your company at around $20 billion more, just because you're quitting...

googleberry  Aug. 24, 2013 at 00:09

MS have certainly tried a lot of new stuff on Ballmer's watch, so credit to him for that. The problem is that most of those experiments have not worked out because of poor execution. Surface, Zune MP3, phones have all been misses even when they are/were growth segments.

If I was to fault Steve, it would be he hasn't evolved the bureaucratic machine MS has become such that it is nimble enough to compete in the fast moving world of today's software/tech industry. Today, MS is too slow at making stuff happen.

A new CEO will no doubt change direction, but MS's problems are very deep. No matter who is in charge, we won't see big improvements in a hurry (if at all).

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