Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will retire within the next 12 months, special committee begins search for a successor

By on August 23, 2013, 9:37 AM
microsoft, ceo, steve ballmer, retirement

It’s been little over a month since Microsoft announced a company-wide reorganization and now the software giant is getting ready for yet another management shakeup. Its chief executive, Steve Ballmer, has said he will retire within the next 12 months, roughly thirteen years after succeeding Bill Gates at the helm.

The executive will stay on board to help with the search for his successor. Microsoft will appoint a special committee for the task, which will include board lead independent director John W. Thompson and founder Bill Gates. The company has said it will consider both internal and external candidates.

Ballmer's departure announcement comes at a significant transition for both the company and the industry as a whole, with more and more people opting for mobile devices over traditional PCs, and Microsoft hedging its bets on a touch-optimized operating system designed to work across computers, tablets and smartphones.

He joined the company in 1980 and became CEO in 2000 after founder Bill Gates stepped down from the post to focus on philanthropic activities. During his tenure Ballmer oversaw several key initiatives, including now three generations of the Xbox console, the launch of Microsoft’s Bing search engine, the $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype, and several iterations of the company’s bread and butter Windows and Office suites.

The Ballmer era also ushered in a revamp of the company’s mobile platform with Windows Phone, not before infamously dishing the iPhone for being too expensive and lacking a physical keyboard.

Overall it’s been a profitable but turbulent period for Microsoft and we can’t wait to see what the next decade will bring as they continue to push into new markets beyond the PC as a devices and services company.

Here's an email sent to employees this morning notifying them of the decision:

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




User Comments: 39

Got something to say? Post a comment
cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

[link]

wastedkill said:

Its a good thing he is moving out so a better person can take his place to improve microsoft and stop the madness of new products being released without being tested.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

See ya..

2 people like this | misor misor said:

LOL, I was reading a similar article about Ballmer retiring at another tech site. a user posted that another baldhead should succeed him. since I'm also bald, damn, I have a super minute chance of being chosen out of other nohairs out there.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The stockholders are happy too. Once he announced his retirement, stocks prices increased by 7%. Hopefully they will choose someone that will take M$ in a good direction this time.

3 people like this |
Staff
Jos Jos said:

@Wendig0 Ballmer is also one of Microsoft's biggest stock holders, so that 7% meant he's made around $769 million just by quitting, not to mention whatever he's getting from the company upon his departure. Not bad.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@Wendig0 Ballmer is also one of Microsoft's biggest stock holders, so that 7% meant he's made around $769 million just by quitting, not to mention whatever he's getting from the company upon his departure. Not bad.

Oh I understand that. He's making bank regardless of what he does, there is no question about it.

2 people like this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

so that 7% meant he's made around $769 million just by quitting
Even though no one is worth that amount, sometimes the cost of advancement is high. In this case I think the cost is acceptable, just because he is removing himself from CEO.

Guest said:

Where all those funny ballmer pics come out?, I want him to explain that before he goes.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Come now folks, let's not be nasty. Although he made millions (and we all seem a little... ok, very jealous) it couldn't have always been easy, in fact it must've been downright stressful. Let him enjoy the fruits of his labour.

P.S. I wonder if he actually uses a Nokia Lumia Windows phone in private or whether he has an iMac stashed under his mattress to use when no one's looking.

Guest said:

So the Penguin is stepping down. Who's next? The Riddler?

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Couldn't happen soon enough. You really can't find a single MS success story during his tenure.

Guest said:

Run steve run, before the X-Box180 fiasco blows further. LMAO. He smells the rat.

2 people like this | insect said:

Couldn't happen soon enough. You really can't find a single MS success story during his tenure.

Really not one? The XBOX? The Kinect? Windows 7? All failures to you... wow. Also, how about Office? Still the most used word processor, RDBMS, Spreadsheet software in the world - not an easy feat to maintain when open source (free) and Apple solutions are nipping at your heels the whole time.

Despite the recent failures (which I blame for MS trying to get ahead of itself... touch screens on everything are the future, just not the now), Microsoft is still infinitely successful on several fronts. It's just their most visible fronts to the public not doing so well (phone, Windows), but their business solutions are far and above everyone else including Office, SharePoint, and SQL Server. These are areas Google and Apple can't even break ground into.

veLa veLa said:

It's about time. This guy has been a total knucklehead as CEO.

TheBigFatClown said:

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. Maybe there is hope for Windows 9. I guess I can always dream.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

For years Ballmer hasn't been the CEO Microsoft needed. He did give the company financial strength and was able to stronghold many markets where they were leaders already, but at the cost of slow innovation and losing out many opportunities where they were logical players.

It's going to be tough for a new CEO to step in and change a huge company that doesn't always move at the pace of the industry anymore. Here's hoping that Microsoft doesn't pull an HP and suddenly decide they don't want to be in the PC market or some other crazy (and stupid) move.

Lurker101 said:

Couldn't happen soon enough. You really can't find a single MS success story during his tenure.

Windows 7

1 person liked this | TheBigFatClown said:

Despite the recent failures (which I blame for MS trying to get ahead of itself... touch screens on everything are the future, just not the now), Microsoft is still infinitely successful on several fronts. It's just their most visible fronts to the public not doing so well (phone, Windows), but their business solutions are far and above everyone else including Office, SharePoint, and SQL Server. These are areas Google and Apple can't even break ground into.

Touch screens on everything are the future? Where did you purchase your crystal ball? The future is here. And it doesn't look so hot to me. Touch screens on portable phones are the here and now. Touch screens on everything is the dumbest statement I ever heard. This is the problem with concepts that lack common sense. Instead of saying something like, "Where would be a good place to put 'touch' capabilities", we have people making blanket statements, like "Touch screens on everything baby yeah, now give me another hit on that doobie". Put the touch screens where they are appropriate, and use common sense when applying technologies to products whether they be software or hardware or anything else.

Remember, just because you "can" doesn't necessarily mean you "should".

Khanonate said:

Here we are blabbing about Ballmer while he's laughing all the way to the bank!

1 person liked this | TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"Really not one? The XBOX? The Kinect? Windows 7? All failures to you... wow. Also, how about Office? Still the most used word processor, RDBMS, Spreadsheet software in the world - not an easy feat to maintain when open source (free) and Apple solutions are nipping at your heels the whole time."

The Xbox was saddled with "red ring of death" issues. An estimated 54% of Xbox's had to be returned because of that. If Sony hadn't blown it themselves with major PS3 issues, there is a very real possibility the XBox would have been a complete and total failure.

The Kinect is a toy that was trying to emulate the Nintendo Wii controller. Nothing innovative or magical about that - they were trying to play catch-up to someone else.

Windows Office? That's a product that was in existence and adopted LONG before he took the reins and there was nothing more going on there than regular upgrades. And that includes the new ribbon menu which a significant amount of people hate.

Windows 7? I'll give you that....

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Things Ballmer did good on:

Windows xp,7, Office 2003-2013, Xbox-Xbox 360, Exchange 2003-2010, Server 2003-2008r2, Windows Phone 7+, SBS2008,SBS2011, Internet Explorer 9+, Microsoft Security Essentials.

Things Ballmer did bad on:

Windows Vista,8,8.1, Windows Phone 6.5-, Xbox One (mostly fixed now though), Exchange 2013, Server 2012,SBS2003, Windows Media Center, Internet Explorer 0-8, Zune, Surface (Price issues mainly, product not bad). Kinect (It Is Not the Future) & Games for Windows Client.

Meh, He's done good and bad, I just hope whoever takes over gives users choice again, the beauty of being able to choose a windows 7 style menu on a desktop or laptop PC will be golden for example, I understand what Microsoft was trying to do but they have got to also understand a desktop PC is very different from a tablet or phone.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Chief executives tend to be "idea parasites", taking the "best" concepts from their underlings. Regardless, Stevie boy acted on too many of the wrong whispers, and he needs to go. The sooner the better.

Guest said:

Everybody can see now the power of Start button

Guest said:

Here is a novel idea

call it a menu button

it is so stupid to tell someone to click on the start button to stop there computer

Guest said:

The Kinect is a toy that was trying to emulate the Nintendo Wii controller. Nothing innovative or magical about that - they were trying to play catch-up to someone else.

Last I checked Kinect had sold more than 24 million units. While they were indeed "playing catch-up" the Kinect went on to expand in ways the Wii controller couldn't, including into applications in the medical field.

spectrenad said:

"The Kinect is a toy that was trying to emulate the Nintendo Wii controller. Nothing innovative or magical about that - they were trying to play catch-up to someone else.

Hate on the kinect if you want, it's an awesome party toy. It also be used on the PC. For example, you can use it to control the skeletoon of a ragdoll in Gmod. And it's simple. It's a gadget, but a well-made gadget. And it has applications outside of the gaming world too. For a 1st gen technology, I think it's great.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Couldn't happen soon enough. You really can't find a single MS success story during his tenure.

Really not one? The XBOX? The Kinect? Windows 7? All failures to you... wow. Also, how about Office? Still the most used word processor, RDBMS, Spreadsheet software in the world - not an easy feat to maintain when open source (free) and Apple solutions are nipping at your heels the whole time.

Despite the recent failures (which I blame for MS trying to get ahead of itself... touch screens on everything are the future, just not the now), Microsoft is still infinitely successful on several fronts. It's just their most visible fronts to the public not doing so well (phone, Windows), but their business solutions are far and above everyone else including Office, SharePoint, and SQL Server. These are areas Google and Apple can't even break ground into.

Most of which he inherited? I mean seriously if you inherit a product that already has 90% of the market share, a pass mark is to not f&%k it up.

JC713 JC713 said:

He should have been gone a long time ago.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Everybody can see now the power of Start button
Yeah, it rhymes with, "retire".......:eek:

(Well sort of.......:oops:. I must have been thinking of the "fire" button).

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

With the failures that are the Windows 8 and Xbox one, I understand him fleeing the sinking ship.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

With the failures that are the Windows 8 and Xbox one, I understand him fleeing the sinking ship.
"Fleeing the sinking ship", really? Given Mr. Ballmer's recent string of "successes", this fly on the boardroom wall, thinks it's quite likely that he was given the option of retiring, in lieu of being fired.

...[p ]...Windows 7? I'll give you that....
I sincerely doubt that you could call Windows 7 an outright success, it was more of a corporate survival response to the enormous fail that was "Vista". Then the "douche who's name can not be spoken", undid it all with Windows 8.

avoidz avoidz said:

Well, we'll always have all those wonderful sweaty GIFs of the big ape. Times are changing...

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Well, we'll always have all those wonderful sweaty GIFs of the big ape. Times are changing...
We need one with MS kicking him to the curb. lol

Guest said:

12 months? Can you make it sooner?

jephthah said:

I don't know much @his leadership but his retire but maybe a big blow

TheBigFatClown said:

I don't know much @his leadership but his retire but maybe a big blow

It actually makes the company look bad right after the second failed attempt to turn the catastrophe of Windows 8 into a success with Windows 8.1. That didn't happen so instead of trying to clean up the disaster Ballmer has decided to leave. I'm okay with that. If your not going to clean up the mess the right way just leave and let somebody else do it. Microsoft does a 180 on X-Box One claiming that they are listening to customers but only because they have realized that no one is too big too fail. The government can get away with that bullshit lie because they write the laws. Microsoft must not have realized they aren't politicians. They have to earn their money, unlike politicians who steal it.

Word to Microsoft. Time to ease your death grip on your "principles" and realize the customer is always right. Give the customer what they want, not what you "think" they want.

The next version of Windows theme song will either be "third time is the charm" or "three strikes and your out at the old ball game".

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

The executive will stay on board to help with the search for his successor. Microsoft will appoint a special committee for the task, which will include board lead independent director John W. Thompson and founder Bill Gates. The company has said it will consider both internal and external candidates.
You know you've really ****ed up, when they force you to stay so you can pick and train your successor, with a committee watching every step of the way . Does anybody feel as I do, that could be a bit humiliating?

It's often said that, "a camel is a horse made by a committee". With that in mind, should we start a pool to predict whether the next M$ CEO will have one hump, or two?

...[ ].... That didn't happen so instead of trying to clean up the disaster Ballmer has decided to leave. I'm okay with that. If your not going to clean up the mess the right way just leave and let somebody else do it.....[ ]....
I'm sort of mystified why everyone seems to patently accept the idea that Ballmer's "retirement" is entirely voluntary. It seems to me a lot more is likely going on in the M$ boardroom that they're willing to go public with.

I frankly don't think Ballmer CAN clean up his own mess. This whole Windows 8 debacle, strikes me as the work of an egomanical psychopath, who simply can't admit he's wrong.

The most comical part of this is, the ruling class at M$ probably has less ability to correct the situation than Ballmer himself. I doubt there's a bill Gates or Steve jobs "think a like" waiting in the wings.. Just a bunch of MBA corporate intrigue prone douches, gossiping and backstabbing without any idea or plan of which way to go after they get do rid of Ballmer.

Who was the genius they brought in a HP a while back, (I think HP) (as a replacement CEO), that summarily and single handedly decided that the company was getting out of the hardware business altogether? Yeah, that nut was gone in a few months..

Somewhere in our archives is a video (or still photo) of Ballmer running his mouth pitching a Surface Tablet.. I was the pure pink one. That junk would have looked more suitable in the hands of "Malibu Barbie"..... (wait for it)....... keyboard and lunchbox sold separately....:oops:

jephthah said:

True , if Steve and Bill thinks then, eb board have big job not t pick same class again

with that maybe microsoft can archieve big then what they have so far...

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