Here's Microsoft CEO Ballmer's goodbye note to the troops

Here's Microsoft CEO Ballmer's goodbye note to the troops

Summary: Ballmer tells employees: 'This is a time of important transformation for Microsoft.'

TOPICS: Microsoft

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced today, August 23, that he plans to retire as CEO some time in the next 12 months.


Here's the e-mail he sent today to employees notifying them of the decision:

From: Steve Ballmer
Sent: Friday, August 23, 2013 6:03 AM
To: Microsoft - All Employees (QBDG)
Subject: Moving Forward

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.



Topic: Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Wow Mary

    You'll be first globally on this scoop.
  • Ciao, baby!

    Now maybe my 401k will get a bump..MSFT market cap has already jumped $24 billion on news of baby huey retiring.
  • So Windows 9 will launch with new CEO...

    If the rumors are true (that Windows 9 will be out at the end of 2014), then the new CEO will preside over the launch of Windows 9. Interesting...
    • Unless the new CEO changes the plan entirely

      There will likely be a few yearly updates to Windows 8 prior to 9 being released.
      Sam Wagner
  • .

    Can't come soon enough.
    • Finding a better CEO is not going to be easy

      If you look at HP, Yahoo!, and Apple, selecting a new CEO is very much a gamble. It's too bad Elop is running Nokia.

      For what it's worth, I thought Ballmer was great.
      P. Douglas
      • Never understood the hate...

        There seemed to be a lot of venom for Ballmer, but the reality is that Microsoft is still formidable because of decisions he made. Did he execute all of them perfectly? No, of course not. But who does.

        Clearly, his personality rubbed some people the wrong way, but that's not necessarily a measure of his leadership. Both Windows and Office still command 90% market share. Both Windows Phones & tablets are gaining market share in very competitive markets (while iOS is bleeding market share). And other Microsoft businesses (servers, Xbox, etc.) are multi-billion-dollar businesses and leading in their categories. Furthermore, Microsoft is still one of the most profitable companies in the world.

        Not so bad...
        • "Not so bad" isn't exactly a ringing endorsement for someone is it?

          Ballmer was handed a monster of a company and many of the decisions or indecisions he made harmed the company and let critical markets slip away.

          I'm not saying everything he touched was a problem, but enough of it was.
        • Re: Both Windows and Office still command 90% market share.

          This is not because of Ballmer. It is not because of Bill Gates. It is not even because of Microsoft.....

          It is a theme beaten to death many many times already...
          • Yawn. Typical ABMer speak

            Anything that didn't work for MS "They're incompetent"

            Everything that did work for MS - "it's not because of anything MS did".

            Now go ask mommy for another lollipop, danbi - you did your handlers proud!
            William Farrel
        • Re: Both Windows and Office still command 90% market share

      • Ballmer's Multiple-Screen Strategy Is Great!

        I can't stop being impressed by his strategy and the boldness involved for a company this side. Microsoft could have kept going like this, earning revenue and huge profits for years to come, but they saw the trends a few years ago and changed cap accordingly. This stragegy involves huge changes and it takes gutts to make that decision and carry it on despite all that has been said against the guy.

        Because of this and other things, I came to respect and actually like the guy shouting "Developers, developers, developers"! He comitted 100% emotionally to Microsoft and he shows! Now it's great to learn he will most probably stay on the Board as it is implied in his letter.
        • Re: He comitted 100% emotionally to Microsoft and he shows!

          Committing emotionally to something is not sufficient, especially if you lack the qualities to do the job. If Microsoft wanted to remain the company that milked their cows until they die, Ballmer is perfect. If Microsoft wants to be what they *pretend* to be --- Ballmer is the wrong guy, as he lacks any vision.

          Developers, developers, developers... is not enough! You need to do something in order to attract those developers and most importantly, not push them away -- just what Microsoft under Baler direction has done.
      • Re: It's too bad Elop is running Nokia.

        You think Elop makes perfect successor to Ballmer?
        • The Problem Is Incompetence.

          Think about it. A CEO of a massive, multi-billion-dollar company (Yahoo) was fired for lying on his résumé about having a degree in "computer science". If this does not indicate the root of the problem, I don't know what does.

          I see it every day: people who have no business coming any where near an engineering tool professing to be "technologists".

          Besides that, over the last 14 years, since the beginning of Component Object Model (COM), Microsoft has been infested with what I call the Hegelian-Horde: People who refuse to learn how to use a metal chainsaw because metal chainsaws are "dangerous", and commence to cutting down trees with plastic chainsaws and insisting that everyone in the industry do the same. We are experience the outcome of this ridiculous mentality right now. These people ran off the competent engineers at Microsoft (democracy benefits the herd). Microsoft is going to have to get rid of these people from the bottom up to survive.
          Le Chaud Lapin
          • Re: We are experience the outcome of this ridiculous mentality right now.

            I am in complete agreement with everything you said, but...

            "Microsoft is going to have to get rid of these people from the bottom up to survive."

            Simply do not believe this is possible, except if they can get a visionary of the kind Steve Jobs was, who will not tolerate "mediocre" and have the courage (which means, shares, I guess) to actually enforce it.

            About the only person who has the sufficient "power" in Microsoft to do this is Bill Gates, but I will never believe he can be that stupid to go back, or that he is even comparable to Steve Jobs in insistence.

            Sad news for Microsoft, but... it had to happen one day.
        • I think Elop could be the best candidate

          I think Elop would be a great successor. He jumped on board Nokia, and managed to turn the company around when it looked like it was going to crash and burn. I believed he made all the right moves, when people were shouting in his ears to make other moves. Nokia Lumia phones are the best smartphones Nokia has ever produced. Elop knows how to motivate Nokians so that they produce extraordinary work. He was wise, unlike Blackberry, to realize he couldn't go it alone; and he chose the ecosystem that would give him the best support, until Nokia could regain its footing.

          I know very little about the other candidates for the MS CEO position, but from what I can see, I think Elop could be Ballmer's best replacement.
          P. Douglas
          • Re: Elop knows how to motivate Nokians

            I don't think how well you know the opinion Nokians have about Elop. Looking at Nokia from distance can be very misleading....

            But you might be right.. Elop will make sure Microsoft goes away fast.
      • Very Easy !!!

        Just drop me a line ... I am in.
  • Monkey Boy will be missed.

    This is a sad day. But we all get tired of jumping through hoops to please everyone.
    Dreyer Smit