Steve Ballmer to retire as CEO of Microsoft in a year

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We all knew this time was coming one day, the time Microsoft will be in search for a new person to take the helm. Today Steve Ballmer, the man who’s been in charge of Microsoft for over a decade, has issued an announcement to all employees in regards to him stepping down 12 months from now. Ballmer plans to retire as the head man for a company in flux; transitioning into a device and services company.

In his announcement, Ballmer mentioned the new direction the company is pursuing and how he felt someone new would help lead Microsoft to where it needs to be.

“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.”

Steve Ballmer had one thing right: that this is the right time. Microsoft has been up and down with success as of late, especially when it comes to Windows 8. The desktop software has been a bumpy transition for many Windows 7 users. The WP8 mobile operating system has taken the third spot away from BlackBerry for OS’ in the world. However, it’s safe to say that the Surface RT tablet has been disastrous as far as expectations are concerned.

Now that Ballmer is stepping away in a year, it’ll give us less time to enjoy all the crazy moments we’ve seen from him and all the crazy memes. Check out some of the crazy memes under the letter, and hit the Gizmodo link for more!

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.

Steve

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