Steve Ballmer

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