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Steve Ballmer to retire as Microsoft CEO

Steve Ballmer

Microsoft has announced that Steve Ballmer is to retire as company CEO, but will stay on for the next 12 months until a replacement is found

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is to retire from the company within the next twelve months. The board of directors has tasked a special committee, which includes company chairman Bill Gates, with finding his replacement.

Ballmer, who joined Microsoft in 1980 and became CEO in 2000, will remain in his position until a replacement can be found.

The announcement was made via a statement published to Microsoft’s official news centre. In it, Ballmer said “There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time.

“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.”

That last part is particularly important, as it highlights Microsoft’s change in direction from purely software to creating hardware such as the Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets. The replacement CEO is therefore likely to be someone with hardware experience as well as software expertise.

Ballmer became something of a controversial character at Microsoft in recent years. Many employees blame him for the muted success of Windows 8 and abject failure of Windows RT, but there’s no question he was a vocal and energetic figurehead.

We couldn’t let this story wrap up without sharing some of our favourite Ballmer moments, including the infamous “developers” rant. We’ll miss you, Steve.

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