Screen Shot 2013-08-23 at 3.16.19 PMMicrosoft’s stock is surging, up 8% in pre-market on the news that Steve Ballmer will be vacating the CEO role within the next year.:

REDMOND, Wash. — Aug. 23, 2013 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer has decided to retire as CEO within the next 12 months, upon the completion of a process to choose his successor. In the meantime, Ballmer will continue as CEO and will lead Microsoft through the next steps of its transformation to a devices and services company that empowers people for the activities they value most.

“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said. “We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing Senior Leadership Team. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our company’s transformation to a devices and services company. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction.”

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.

“The board is committed to the effective transformation of Microsoft to a successful devices and services company,” Thompson said. “As this work continues, we are focused on selecting a new CEO to work with the company’s senior leadership team to chart the company’s course and execute on it in a highly competitive industry.”

“As a member of the succession planning committee, I’ll work closely with the other members of the board to identify a great new CEO,” said Gates. “We’re fortunate to have Steve in his role until the new CEO assumes these duties.”

Microsoft’s stock has been flat since Ballmer took over the CEO roll from Bill Gates at the turn of the century. Ballmer has faced increasing criticism lately over the failure of the Surface RT and Windows Phones in a market dominated by Apple’s iOS devices and Android/Google devices. Perhaps his biggest gaffe was laughing off the importance of the iPhone (below).

He never lacked enthusiasm

Update: Letter to employees via SAI

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.


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23 Responses to “Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer calls it quits, will leave within 12 months or when a successor is found”

  1. a think a few weeks back, there was this “analyst in-the-know” that a certain CEO is feeling the heat. note to analyst. wrong company.


  2. Melissa Mayer FTW!


  3. It’s not April 1st again, is it?


  4. rettun1 says:



  5. Apple was lucky and it rebounded, but I don’t think anything will change at Microsoft as long as Ballmer is running it.” Excerpt From: Walter, Isaacson. “Steve Jobs.”


  6. “Ballmer will continue to carry out his role while the company seeks a successor…”

    I really think they’d be better off if they would just allow MSFT 12 months of wild anarchy. I’m pretty sure things will evolve organically and they will have a chance to have a better future. Ballmer is a useless clown.


  7. Paul Threatt says:

    Funny. MSFT’s market cap went up 15 billion dollars on the news that Ballmer was quitting in 12 months at most. Ballmer just turned a nice profit for Microsoft! And that’s on news that “anybody but Ballmer” would steer the company.


  8. mpias3785 says:

    I feel kind of bad for the guy. Announce you’re quitting and there’s a big jump in stock price? That must be a real kick in the head. Having said that, it’s about time. I’m amazed he lasted as long as he did. I guess the billion dollar surface hiccup didn’t go unnoticed.


  9. Jim Phong says:

    Tim Cook needs to go to along with the mess he is doing at Apple.. iPad Mini, iOS 7 poor Metro-style graphics, plastic iPhone 5C ..


    • mpias3785 says:

      Tim Cooke deserves a chance. I don’t see a problem with the iPad mini except for the lack of retina display, there’s more to iOS 7 than the admittedly ugly icons and I see the 5C as going the way of the iPod Mini. Even though it had a lower capacity, it came in colors, was less expensive and became Apple’s most popular iPod, and this was back when the iPod was Apple’s bread and butter. I think the 5C is going to be big.

      Then again, there is that miserable ashtray shaped Mac Pro. We’ll see what happens with that.


    • ikir says:

      ?? IPad mini is selling like pancakes! I work in a computer shop and we never have enough.
      iOS 7 is quite good especially new APIs.
      Plastic iPhone 5C is agood new entry for who doesn’t want to spend too much but wants the iPhone experience.
      Eh I… You could send your CV to Microsoft.


  10. getni says:

    Wouldn’t it be interesting if Scott Forstall came out of whatever hole he’s been hiding in and took the reins at Microsoft? Ballmer, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, amigo.


  11. LOL, Windows 8 and Surface Pro, now the Xbox One failure, I wonder if Steve Ballmer finds another job after those blunders!!!!


    • Well to be fair, the XBox One’s initial policies were short-sighted and bungled, and the guy behind them has already left the company, but it will probably still be wildly successful. Windows 8 and Surface RT/Pro is a disaster though. Ballmer is a lunatic.


      • standardpull says:

        No, the guy behind them – Ballmer – has not yet left the company. Responsibility starts at the top. You can only blame your subordinates for 10 years. After that, shareholders should realize that there are systemic problems at the very top.


  12. The videos, especially the first one with the iPhone. I laugh so much how stu*id he is :D


  13. Steve Balmer is doing the right thing. I wish that ADHD victims find their right place in Big Business.


  14. drtyrell969 says:

    I believe Satan is free!


  15. Lance Miller says:

    Only in Baseball can you get on base one out of 3.5 times & make millions for doing so but Make Billions of Dollars in a tech field where you haven’t had a hit in your last 10 attempts & know nothing about new technologies.