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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announces retirement within 12 months

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that when considering his retirement, the company needed a CEO who will be here longer term for a new direction. (AP Photo/File)

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's Chief Executive Officer since 2000, will only be around for, at most, another 12 months.

CBS Moneywatch editor Jill Schlesinger Schlesinger told KIRO Radio's Morning News that it's time for Microsoft to get some new blood - and they will, because the company announced its CEO of 13 years is retiring.

"Microsoft feels like an old company and when old companies don't make a change, you go south in a hurry," said Schlesinger.

Microsoft's board of directors is already searching for the next CEO to lead the company into the future.

A special committee has been appointed to head up the candidate selection, including Microsoft founder and Chairman of the Board Bill Gates.

During the selection process, Ballmer will continue as CEO.

In an internal email, Ballmer said to Microsoft's employees, "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."

Ballmer said that when considering his retirement, the company needed a CEO who will be at Microsoft longer term for a new direction.

Tech industry experts weighed in on Friday as to the CEO in waiting may be. GeekWire's Todd Bishop told KIRO Radio, "Steve Ballmer hung on for so long that a lot of the people inside the company, who could have led this kind of turn-around, have left."

According to Bishop, Ballmer really weighed down the company in some ways - not only by staying - but by letting a lot of these potential successors depart.

Immediately following the announcement, Microsoft stock shot up at least seven percent.

According to Schlesinger, over the course of Ballmer's tenure as CEO Microsoft, stock is down over 40 percent, while the S&P 500 is up over 85 percent.

She says it's not just Ballmer. "The board of directors is responsible for the strategy."

Now their strategy includes looking for new leadership.

About the Author

Alyssa Kleven is an editor and content producer at She enjoys doting over her adorable dachshund Winnie - named for Arcade Fire front-man Win Butler.


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