Microsoft CEO Ballmer to retire in the next 12 months

Microsoft CEO Ballmer to retire in the next 12 months

Summary: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has announced his intentions to step down. A search committee is seeking his successor.

TOPICS: Microsoft

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has announced his intentions to retire within the next 12 months.

Ballmer made his intentions known on August 23, 2013. A search committee headed by Microsoft board member John Thompson is working on finding a successor.

Ballmer is going to remain CEO until his successor is appointed, a company spokesperson confirmed.

“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer is quoted as saying in a press release. “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.”

In 2008, Ballmer said publicly that he planned to stay at Microsoft until his youngest son was off to college. That would have kept Ballmer in Redmond until around 2018.

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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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  • Interesting that stocks surge

    It seems as if not knowing who will be MS's CEO is better than knowing it is Ballmer.

    I'm not going to say Ballmer is the worst CEO of all time or anything like that, because he did do some good things, and it is the market leader with several of its products. However, as well as they did, MS should have done much better under his tenure than it did.
    Michael Kelly
    • So what...

      ....the would-be new CEO of Microsoft need to do in order to make Microsoft release its potentiality??
      • easy

        Kill Metro. Make the OS dudes bring out "win8.2" with a start menu and an option to disable the Fabulous Fred interface, and that *might* make them regain lost market.
        I'm not sure if the Xbox can be saved, but MS can't just kill it, so keep that going.
        Probably go around on doing the iOS/Android port of Office. Maybe even Linux.
        Do an actual mobile OS for their mobile stuff.
        • ??

          It will take more to get people to openly accept win8. Also they really need to rethink the mobile and tablet division. As for the xbox line nothing is lost thier. They are in the right track and as long as they keep score exvlsuives they will it continue to do ms well.
        • Metro

          I wouldn't want to see Metro killed, just relegated to an opt-in. The Metro applications are nice WHEN I WANT TO USE THEM. But they shouldn't be front and center on a desktop system, either. Yes, bring the start menu back. Yes, default to desktop mode. But move the Metro interface in to an app center type setup, where I can launch and use the RT style apps if I want to, but don't see if them if I don't want to.
          • If Metro apps are your thing...

            Other than technical reasons, why can't they appear -on- the desktop if that's what the user wants? Yes I realize there is some interaction between the app and the OS that will have to be replicated. I'm imagining something like giving each Metro app its own 'virtual Metro screen' that lives as a window on the desktop. You know, the way people have been running apps on PCs for the last 20 years.
          • I'd be for that

            I don't know that I can say "Metro apps are my thing". As a professional developer that takes a good UI experience very seriously, I love the concept of "Content before chrome", where your data IS the UI. That's the part of the Metro paradigm that I love. However, I agree that they could live as normal windows. I'd think that if you DO maximize them, that they'd take the full screen (with an obvious way to restore them to windowed mode). Seems like it'd work to me. :)
          • Again Modern Mix does this.

            Check out
            Rick Spears
          • The advantage of "Modern" is that it satisfies many people's desire...

            for instant information about certain subjects like weather, stocks or other "Widget" data on boot up. I'm pretty sure you'd be less opposed if it simply wasn't so flashy and bright, with colors more reminiscent of Win7 than the loud reds, oranges and yellows mixed in with the blues and greens.
          • weather, stocks, etc.

            Fine on those, but make those opt-in, too .. in some sort of widget. I don't want those front and center. I want a clean interface without all the social networking and extraneous things that take up space I need for work - yes, like program/file icons.

            If the 'new guy' accepts the fact that there are *lots* of users who need a working tool - not a toy, and rank productivity high on the list and makes that option available, then he will keep users. For the break-dancing on the conference table crowd, make an option for a 'metro-like' UI.

            Stop with the dumbing down of everything they produce. I don't need 5 clicks to do something that one will do quite nicely.

            Keep up with security add-ons for IE - catch up to Firefox. Drop the 'let us determine for you what your next word(s) will be and fill them in for you. On Bing, stop with the advertising that the fact that Bing has a new home page every day is a valid reason to use it. Stop filtering the search results which they admit to doing (read The Filter Bubble). Stop including input from social media as 'valid search results.'

            In other words, grow up. Options .. options .. options. Even some brand new users don't like all the play toy feeling, but unlike most readers here, have no clue how to modify the system to get it to work. You shouldn't need an IT degree to do it.
          • There's a paid program that can do that


            This should have been a feature included by default in Windows 8, this shouldn't have to be offered by a 3rd party program.
          • Modern Mix does this for you

            You might be wanting MS to do it but its a great option. Stardock has capitalized on MS mistakes.
            Rick Spears
          • That could work..

            but I'm sure for some reason toddy will disagree.
        • No not kill metro

          I am not a huge fan of Metro would be an understatement but it belongs on a touch screen device like a cell phone or tablet. My big beef with it was that it does not belong on a desktop w/o a touch screen because we don't work that way. My screen at work isn't even close enough to touch with my hand. It was plain stupid to try to force that on people. In 8.1 people didn't want the start button back, they wanted the start *menu* back.

          Back in 2002 MS made the mistake of making a cell phone working like a desktop, then nearly 10 years later they tried to make a desktop work like a cell phone; the same CEO was in charge during both mistakes. The MS community needs someone with fresh ideas because everyone at the MS Home office has exactly the same ideas so promoting from within wouldn't be the best move.
          • balsover is right

            metro on a touch screen is good... on a mouse and keyboard... a head scratcher.
          • balsover is not right

            No, balsover is wrong, Metro works well with touch but is even easier with keyboard plus wheel-mouse. I can reach any application desktop or "Metro" quicker than the clunky old start menu. Scroll down for a little used application - Give me a break - use Win-R or zip through the start page. The move in and out of the Desktop is so quick and fluid (and I spend most of my time in the desktop), even on older hardware, that I cannot see the problem. I can only assume some people are very old and conservative - fortunately I am only 68. I have used every version of Windows from version 1 onwards - favourites, in their time, 3.11, 98, XP, 7, and 8.
            Bob G Beechey
        • why all the hate on WP?

          I have yet to meet a WP7 or 8 user who is even a little dissatisfied with their phone.

          or did I misunderstand you?
      • Too late...

        ". . . a management system known as “stack ranking”—a program that forces every unit to declare a certain percentage of employees as top performers, good performers, average, and poor—effectively crippled Microsoft’s ability to innovate."

        Microsoft’s Downfall: Inside the Executive E-mails and Cannibalistic Culture That Felled a Tech Giant
        William Donelson
        • Why is he quitting ...

          ... now that he's finally scored a victory?

          "Microsoft's shares are up significantly in early trading on Friday following news of CEO Steve Ballmer's impending retirement."
          • My question is: Has he?

            Microsoft has been far too conservative these last 13+ years, moving too slowly on nearly every project and not giving enough push behind the products they did release. Microsoft could have easily commanded the tablet field back in 2001 had they really pushed development of software and hardware--rather than waiting for Apple to show them how to do it. Even now, the advertising decisions for Surface completely smothered the product's real capabilities by trying to make it LOOK cool. Just as RIMM scoffed at the original iPhone, Microsoft effectively scoffed at the iPad--and has suffered as a result. Image--especially when relying on non-users view of a competing product--will often conceal the real reason why a product is a success or a failure. With Microsoft's failures--not once but many times--to compete with Apple products under his leadership, Ballmer has done more to hurt the company than help.