Steve Ballmer

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to retire in next 12 months

Developers! Developers! Developers! Live it up, folks. Get as much Ballmer as you can because the Microsoft CEO is stepping down and retiring in the next 12 months. The company fired out a press release today detailing the news that while Steve Ballmer will continue on as CEO and lead Microsoft through the next steps of the transition to a devices and services company, a successor will be selected as a replacement.

The board of directors has appointed a committee to direct the process and is working closely with executive recruiting firm Heidrick & Struggles International. Both external and internal candidates will be considered. As well as firing out an internal email to colleagues, here's what Ballmer had to say on the news:

"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."

Bill Gates, who was CEO at Microsoft before Ballmer took charge, stated that he'll "work closely with the other members of the board to identify a great new CEO." Closing with how the company is fortunate to have Ballmer in his role until a new CEO is appointed. The current chief has previously come under fire at Microsoft regarding the company's performance in the smartphone market, as well as other internal issues highlighted by retired employees.

In other related news, Microsoft's stock has surged 8 percent in pre-market trading with today's news. What are your thoughts on Ballmer's departure? Do you believe Microsoft is in a secure enough position to crack on with the major transition and have new life injected?

Source: Microsoft


Reader comments

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to retire in next 12 months



You got to admit, he brought enthusiasm to window. Even know he was (is) clueless on where to take and how to take the platform.

I'm a complete MS fanboy but I was NEVER a fan of Ballmer. Will remain cautiously optimistic until the successor is announced.

I have mixed feelings. I don't know how much of the direction he actually dictated, but he has always been a terrible face and spokesman for Microsoft.

Oh man! I actually like Ballmer and think he's a really good CEO.
Having said that, everyone has to retire eventually... And certainly Microsoft being a huge company will find a worthy successor. There are some really smart people over there. :)

The only thing about Microsoft, is that with Balmer you knew what to expect, I dont mean this as a positive or negative remark. With a new CEO, they could change everything, and it could be worse. Remember when Jobs left Apple, Apple fell, When Cook has taken over Apple now, he is like Balmer, The stock price did fall, but will remain probably around the same as before. Balmer just maintained Microsoft as Cook is currently doing in Apple.
One person that would be intriguing is the CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer.

More to do with Ballmer than either of them. Bing and Yahoo have been working together for search engine purposes. So yet again, Bing's decision by Ballmer has helped Yahoo! to survive along with Microsoft to thrive.

Yes it is, I only see them when I remove the check mark where it says; "do you want to add Yahoo as whatever"
Which I absolutely do not...

Balmer did well, he will have a good successor in Steven Elop who will bring Nokia with him and turn Windows Phone into an exclusive Nokia phone OS.

Now atleast windows phones will be progressing nobody could have slowed down development more than he did. And i think if elop succeds him it will be eternal but thats never gonna happen

You all may make fun of Ballmer, and i have so too is the past. He is the best comic relief in MS lol, but think about it... Who is able to run such a company? MS is a giant like no other company on earth, its not like u can go and say " hey, what about the ceo of X company?" , what im saying, ia that u can never be well prepared for a job like this. Ballmer had a great run, im gonna miss his randomness on stage hahaha

This is good I just hope the new CEO brings life to the company of Microsoft and development of windows 8 I hope they don't junk it I like windows 8! They just need to improve and overhaul something's and get more apps!

Steve Ballmer was a much better CEO then most make it seem. If it was up to me I would buyout Nokia bringing elop in house and make him CEO. That IMHO.

That could be the most expensive CEO acquisition in history! I like the idea though. Ballmer was a good CEO for the company Microsoft was. The direction they need to go requires something and someone different.

And go from number 1, to being number 10 like Nokia?? You don't know a thing about Nokia's financials do you? Nokia is nothing compared to what it was 10 years ago buddy. Nokia can go bankrupt in a flash.

Whether you liked Ballmer or not, I think we can all agree on one thing: The next CEO needs to raise the bar and jump taller chairs than Gates.

Whatever CEO they pick, I sure hope the person understands the strategic importance of Windows Phone.  I still get the feeling that MS is dragging thier feet on phone.

the current change up of divisions in microsoft will hopefully remedy that, with windows phone bundled under the Operating Systems division, and considering MS has been working on 8.1 for a bit, they may be farther along then you think.

I know he has his haters, but you knew what you were going get.
A new CEO could mean new heights for Microsoft or it could mean complete destruction. Surprised that sticks would rise, with such uncertainty.

I don't think they can afford to switch right now. All resources have been put on WP and Nokia controls >80% of WP market. You think they gonna just drop that?

Exactly. Nokia actually gets MS to change/add things about/to Windows Phone. I dont see Google changing their OS for Nokia.

Did Ballmer unleash Jobs-like charisma and vision to unify the various branches of the company? No. It's a big money making mess. They'd probably do well to tighten up their devices and services now. We'll see what happens.

"Did Ballmer unleash Jobs-like charisma and vision to unify the various branches of the company? No."
omg. another one who thinks job's CEO style was normal. He was a unique case scenario. Most CEOs dont have the liberty he did.
And have you not noticed that Ballmer recently changed up how Microsoft works? Their seperate operating system teams are now joined in the "Operating Systems" division, XBOX hardware and Surface is under the "Hardware" division, and of course there is still a marketing division. So its sort of "Better late than never" as the saying goes.

There were a lot of decisions Ballmer took for which he was criticized a lot. Although a new CEO will be tougher.

Yes!! Get rid of all that were behind Windows 8 and Windows phone 8!! Bring back Bill Gates so he can straighten up this mess. Bring back real features to WP and the start button back to Windows at least to desktops and non touch devices. Lets take Windows back to what it use to be.

Any votes for Joe Dirt? Seriously think now is when you buy Nokia, make them Microsoft as well and place Elop as the CEO. Then you advance the whole device and services strategy buy allowing Nokia to take over all surface products from that point forward including letting them make the Surface phone. In fact, I think that is such a good idea that maybe I'm the 1 who should be the next CEO. ;)

I really like SteveB. Don't know what to say reading this. except,
FUCK you the US media, for them being consistant asshole to microsoft and Steve.

I know Joe Belfiore is way underqualified, but I love how he handles customers. He presents well at shows, and seems to have a "hip" understanding of the market. I think he would be an awesome candidate, or should at least be promoted heavily.

Just cut to the chase and announce Bill Gates is coming back with Chuck Norris to kick some ass!

Is now the time and is this the right move? Steve Elop and folding Nokia into Microsoft. It sound crazy; even to me.

  We will never forget you Steve B. Now i want Scott Forstall for the job! Bring some apple magic in Redmond. 

Assuming Microsoft continues post-Ballmer on the transformation into a Devices & Services side, here's my advice.
1. Bring in a CEO who'll simplify the hardware Devices side into Business and Consumer divisions. Merge Windows RT and Windows Phone into one subdivision under Consumer.
2. Bring in a CEO who simplifies the software Services side. Reduce the number of product lines, SKUs, and licencing structures.
3. Anoint the Nokia Lumia 1020 and Lumia 520 as the flagship premium and base consumer models going forward. Focus Windows Phone marketing on just those two models and their direct successors for the rest of the decade.

Did they really have to pick a firm called "Struggles" to fine they're new CEO? I can already see the Register headlines for the next 12 frikken months.
Ballmer gets a hard time and does seem like a gorilla in a suit but when he says jump I bet people jump pretty high. Windows 8 is awesome and only going to get better with 8.1, Windows Phone 8 is excellent and growing fast and the Surface/Surface Pro are about to get generation 2. The right CEO can take what Ballmer has put in place and fly with it but without his leadership they would be in a worse position right now.

Totally agreed with you right up until point 3. What we need in an HTC One style flagship, or a successor of the 925 but the 1020 is more for camera folks. Love the 520 too but what Windows Phone needs more than anything else right now it's manufacturers using the OS. We need more handsets from different vendors. HTC 8X is fantastic but they have 20 Android phones, same with Samsung, only 2 Windows Phone models, Sony don't have one, LG don't have one. Nokia has single handedly created the Windows Phone market (despite this being typed on an 8X) bt they need competition.

for ignorant people saying Ballmer was terrible and they are glad he leaves,,,
what in your "awesome" brain could be the next CEO? and please dont say bill gates because its obvious he wont be the next CEO. tell me, who will make Microsoft get millions of millions lik Ballmer did, and well put the computer in path for future.
tell me please smart people... I'd love to hear and laugh at your answers :). oh and please dont say Elop because he is obviously not a Microsoft guy (yet) only if Microsoft buys Nokia would be an option.

Microsoft is positioned to be great, but with every step forward in tech, they take at least one step back in user experience. A CEO who can keep the two in lockstep will be extremely valuable to all involved.

The only thing that makes this sweet is seeing the haters of MS continue to be bitter about their record breaking quarter results. Even though apparently certain tech websites (Engadget and the verge) can predict the future and they're always right so the desktop era is almost over!!!!! Gtfoh. Steven I wish you luck. You've been brilliant over the decades :)

Sorry Mr. Ballmer, but this is Greatest News i ever heared from Microsoft. I Hope they Will find a very good ceo. Next my favourite news will be the retirement of mr.Elop - the Nokia killer beast!

Ballmer might've been a decent CEO to run the show, but I thought he wasn't very likeable and a terrible choice as a front-man. The bellowing, arrogant, obese, sweaty, used-car saleman look isn't that appealing ;)

I just hope it's not a CEO from a totally unrelated industry, such as the one Apple (Steve Jobs) chose to run it back in the day: the CEO of Pepsi, which nearly bankrupted Apple.
It will have to be somebody with real experience in the industry, preferably somebody from inside Microsoft.

I for one am glad to see Ballmer go. Too many missteps over the last decade. The buck stops with the CEO.
MS needs a micromanaging type CEO to fix its ills, and I further suggest it needs to be an outsider otherwise MS will not change one iota.
Who that is I haven't a clue, but I think those are the preferred attributes.

Would love to see Sinofsky come back for this. Elop is a close second for the post but I think it's unlikely unless they merge with Nokia for good, which is something Nokia isn't ready to do just yet.
Bill is probably not coming back since he's busy saving the world.
And as much as I like Joe B, I think he couldn't handle running the company yet. Maybe in a few years.