Microsoft: Steve Ballmer to Retire in 12 Months

Steve Ballmer
Steve Ballmer

Microsoft just announced today that its CEO, Steve Ballmer, will be retiring within the next 12 months.

Presiding over the software giant since 2000, Steve Ballmer has been with Microsoft for over 33 years. Some would say that he’s had a negative impact on Microsoft since co-founder Bill Gates left the helm of the company, but there’s no doubt that Ballmer had a profound effect on Microsoft in recent years.

While this news isn’t exactly “gaming” news, it’s still significant, and will probably impact the PC gaming community in ways not yet known. Perhaps the next CEO will announce a new DX12? Who knows. What is sure though is that PC gamers have been slow to adopt Windows 8, and in many cases totally shun the hybrid tablet-desktop operating system and choosing instead to stick with Windows 7.

According to Microsoft, Bill Gates will be part of a special committee to find and appoint a new CEO:

The Board of Directors has appointed a special committee to direct the process. This committee is chaired by John Thompson, the board’s lead independent director, and includes Chairman of the Board Bill Gates, Chairman of the Audit Committee Chuck Noski and Chairman of the Compensation Committee Steve Luczo. The special committee is working with Heidrick & Struggles International Inc., a leading executive recruiting firm, and will consider both external and internal candidates.

Ballmer will remain as CEO through the transition, which he himself indicated that is the right move in transforming Microsoft into a devices and services company.

We’ll have to wait and see what happens to Microsoft, and how the transition will impact PC gamers, but surely the announcement is huge.

Steve Ballmer’s own email to 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.


Source: Microsoft, Microsoft News Center

by Michael Hoang, on August 23, 2013