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Steve Ballmer to Retire in 12 Months

Today Microsoft released a press release noting Steve Ballmer will retire in 12 months. Bill Gates will be apart of the team that will pick his successor, and the one to shape the company for the next decade or more. The stocks prices for Microsoft have reacted positively and is trading for 7% above the opening price yesterday.

Many critics have want this CEO because he has not had the direction to move ahead of Apple or Google in the mobile space. Ballmer has been in charge of some great successes such as Xbox, Windows 7, and the continued dominance of Microsoft Office. However, he’s also been in charge while Windows Phone has yet to find a foot hold, Windows Vista huge bust, and the fall of hotmail.

He’s done great thing, and some huge mistakes. The next CEO will have a full plate, and will have to bring Microsoft back into power in their markets. This can be done as shown by Yahoo’s recent growth and come back in different markets.

Here’s a letter Ballmer sent to all Microsoft employees:

I am writing to let you know that 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. 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. You can read the press release on Microsoft News Center.

This is a time of important transformation for Microsoft. Our new Senior Leadership team is amazing. The strategy we have generated is first class. Our new organization, which is centered on functions and engineering areas, is right for the opportunities and challenges ahead.

Microsoft is an amazing place. I love this company. I love the way we helped invent and popularize computing and the PC. I love the bigness and boldness of our bets. I love our people and their talent and our willingness to accept and embrace their range of capabilities, including their quirks. I love the way we embrace and work with other companies to change the world and succeed together. I love the breadth and diversity of our customers, from consumer to enterprise, across industries, countries, and people of all backgrounds and age groups.

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. We have more than 1 billion users and earn a great profit for our shareholders. We have delivered more profit and cash return to shareholders than virtually any other company in history.

I am excited by our mission of empowering the world and believe in our future success. I cherish my Microsoft ownership, and look forward to continuing as one of Microsoft’s largest owners.

This is an emotional and difficult thing for me to do. 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.


This is going to be a huge change for Microsoft, and we could see some more changes in the coming years. THe new CEO will get to choose which directions to take Windows Phone, Windows 8, and other products. We believe an outside person will be brought in to become the new CEO, but they could always choose inside talent. We’ll have to wait and see what happens in the coming months. Tell us what you think about Ballmer retiring.