Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to Retire Within a Year

SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 29: Microsoft CEO unveils the new Windows Phone 8 at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on October 29, 2012 in San Francisco, California. The Windows Phone 8 marks the Seattle-based company's latest update from its two-year-old Windows Phone 7 platform as the company looks to compete in the increasingly dense smartphone segment dominated by rivals Apple and Google. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images)
Stephen Lam/Getty ImagesMicrosoft CEO Steve Ballmer
Microsoft shares are soaring this morning on the news that longtime CEO Steve Ballmer will retire within 12 months. Shares have risen about 6% in trading this morning, in the process enriching the outgoing CEO by upwards of a half-billion dollars.

In a statement, Microsoft (MSFT) said that Ballmer will retire once the board finds a new chief executive to replace him. The search process will be overseen by a special committee appointed by the board of directors, and will include Microsoft chairman and former CEO Bill Gates.

"We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing Senior Leadership Team," said Ballmer in a statement. "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."

That "new strategy" refers to a restructuring announced by the company last month, which will include dividing the company into four primary engineering divisions.

That organization shake-up came in response to what's been an undeniably tumultuous period for the company, which missed the boat on mobile and tablets and has struggled to play catch-up. It's seen a chilly reception for Windows 8, the latest iteration of its flagship operating system. And sales of its tablet, the Surface, have likewise been disappointing, leading the company to make radical price cuts earlier this month.

And while it's kept its head above water on the strength of its Xbox and Office businesses, there are signs of danger ahead: Its next generation console, the Xbox One, didn't go over well with gamers when it was announced in the spring.

We put Ballmer on our list of endangered executives for 2013, and now it seems the company's struggles have finally caught up to him. Microsoft shares are already soaring on the news, opening the morning up 8 percent.

And much like Andrew Mason, who saw his holdings of Groupon stock soar in value upon his ouster from the company, Ballmer will also see a windfall from his retirement. According to one report, Ballmer has 333 million shares of Microsoft, so the share price bump resulting from his retirement has made him richer by more than $600 million -- though the share price is still bouncing around as the market processes the shake-up.

Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.

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this IS nationwide and for real,so PLEASE GET MOVING and KEEP IT MOVING.

thank u

August 25 2013 at 9:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hurry Steve hurry sell shares !

August 24 2013 at 3:27 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Reminds me of Uncle Fester from the Addams Family! boo!

August 24 2013 at 3:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

MSFT rises 8% on the news of Steve Ballmer retirement... That must hurt Steve.

August 23 2013 at 6:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Apparently his notification was successfully completed and transmitted. That suggests he didn\'t use Windows 8 to write and submit it.

August 23 2013 at 1:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jack & Vonee

He announces retirement and the stock goes up 9% !!
With effective CEO's like Steve Jobs the stock would have gone down
This tells what the market thinks about Balmer and Gates is so rich he could give a flip!!

August 23 2013 at 1:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Mayhaps whoever replaces him will overhaul what they have and make it work a little more dependably. Nothing like having to reboot four or five times daily or having to use a typewriter because Word will not do what they claim it\'s supposed to do...

August 23 2013 at 1:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ballmer (with Hansen) will buy an NBA team and build a downtown arena in Seattle. He will not be an active owner like Mark Cuban or Jerry Jones (what is it about Texans that feel they have to be involved) so the team will be a success. They will win multiple championships and return love and peace to Seattle.

August 23 2013 at 1:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Anyone who believes Ballmer did not have a major role in MS long term success is nuts. He has been there a long time and most of it was spent herding cats when Gates was still active and the driving force. Gates obviously brilliant, but as it is with all brilliant folks, someone needs to be there to drive the boat and make it all mesh.

Ballmer is a multi billionaire along with Paul Allen. No matter what his detractors say, he probably is looking forward to getting out of the rat race to sit just sit around and count or spend his money.

August 23 2013 at 1:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Call me bill I can help

August 23 2013 at 12:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply