Microsoft's Steve Ballmer to Retire; Stock Surges
Tech giant doesn't announce his successor
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Aug 23, 2013 8:35 AM CDT
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaks at a Microsoft event in San Francisco, Wednesday, June 26, 2013.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

(Newser) – It's probably a bad sign when investors react to news of your CEO's departure by buying like crazy. Microsoft dropped a bombshell this morning by announcing that Steve Ballmer would retire within 12 months, the AP reports. The company gave no indication of who might succeed the longtime executive, saying only that the board had appointed a special committee to find someone. Word of his departure was enough to send the stock up about 9% in premarket trading.

"There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time," Ballmer said in a press release. "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." The move comes about a month after Microsoft released a grisly fourth-quarter report that saw it take a $900 million write-down on its Surface RT tablet.

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Aug 23, 2013 10:28 PM CDT
Jobs and Gates had equal but opposite philosophies. For Jobs it had to be perfection. For Gates it just had to be just barely good enough. However, Jobs demanded a good profit margin on everything he produced and sold, and so his products after the Mac were initially only taken up by a small elite that both could afford them, and were willing to pay for a product so reliable, intuitive, and beautiful to work with. But that meant that Apple computers fell in PC market share to a small but fanatical group of followers that kept it from going under when things got rough. And actually needed Gates's help for a time to stay afloat. For Gates, if the thing was good enough and the sales volume great enough, no problem in letting the end users were getting those WinPC clones for relatively cheap price bloody themselves in debugging them for him. They crashed all over the place constantly, and while the consumers raged, they still kept on buying PCs anyway - because they were still cheap compared to the only competitor in the marketplace. But finally Jobs really proved his genius by coming up with a line of new handheld products so beautifully designed, and with such fortuitous timing, that they finally turned Apple into the number one high tech company, edging out that schlocky Microsoft that Jobs so despised. And so Jobs died vindicated in his belief that a quality product - even at a relatively high price - could still occasionally succeed in America. A true rarity.
Aug 23, 2013 10:21 PM CDT
He's no Steve Jobs (and I very much doubt he'll have a movie either). Ballmer Made $769M in Quitting!!! That's how I want to quit...
Aug 23, 2013 10:05 PM CDT
With Steve Jobs dead and Ballmer finally leaving, Microsoft might just get its chance.