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The Knight 23-08-13 11:51 PM

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to Leave the Company
Microsoft has just announced that CEO Steve Ballmer has decided to retire from his position as the helm of the company, with a new head of the company to be announced in the next 12 months.

Ballmer will thus remain CEO for one more year, as the company continues the transition to a devices and services firm, the tech giant said in a press statement.

“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said.

“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.”

No reason has been provided until now, but word is that some members of the board, as well as new shareholder ValueAct, aren’t quite satisfied with Ballmer’s new vision.

The tech giant has created what it calls “a special committee” to take care of the transition to a new CEO. John Thompson, the board’s lead independent director, will be in charge of the new group, which also includes Chairman of the Board Bill Gates, Chairman of the Audit Committee Chuck Noski and Chairman of the Compensation Committee Steve Luczo.

At the same time, the newly-founded committee will work with Heidrick & Struggles International Inc., with the company said to consider both external and internal candidates.

Bill Gates already issued a statement on Ballmer’s resignation, without commenting on the possibility of returning at the helm of the company.

“As a member of the succession planning committee, I’ll work closely with the other members of the board to identify a great new CEO,” said Gates. “We’re fortunate to have Steve in his role until the new CEO assumes these duties.”

Thomson, on the other hand, explains that Microsoft is already prepared to complete the transition to a devices and services approach, so the new CEO would have to fully embrace this concept.

“The board is committed to the effective transformation of Microsoft to a successful devices and services company,” Thompson said. “As this work continues, we are focused on selecting a new CEO to work with the company’s senior leadership team to chart the company’s course and execute on it in a highly competitive industry.”

So, who’s next? you may ask. It’s hard to tell, but it could all come down to two different names: Bill Gates or Julie-Larson Green, the one who’s been in charge of the Windows division until the Ballmer announced the company’s internal reorganization.

Steve Ballmer’s Full Goodbye Letter Sent to Microsoft Employees

Ballmer, on the other hand, sent an internal email to all employees to tell them about his decision to leave, explaining that whoever comes next must continue the transition he started to a devices and services approach.

“I love this company,” Ballmer said in the email, explaining that he’s very proud of what he achieved while at the helm of the firm.

Here’s the full letter Ballmer sent this morning to all company employees:

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.


Source 1 | Source 2

realandR3cys 24-08-13 12:04 AM

Re: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to Leave the Company
Well, respect for Steve.
All these years he has done his part, from bringing MS such huge profits and also building the Xbox gaming division!
On the other hand, i really hope the new CEO wouldn't be another "el-useless" Don Mattrick.

The Knight 24-08-13 12:06 AM

Re: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to Leave the Company
The Ballmer Era Comes to an End, But What’s Next for Microsoft?

While only little has been said about the reasons behind’s Ballmer decision, people familiar with the matter have hinted several times that several members of the board no longer agree with the direction the company is heading to.

What’s more, ValueAct, the investing firm that purchased a $2 billion (€1.5 billion) stake in April, was also planning to replace Steve Ballmer and make the Redmond-based giant focus more on key products such as Windows.

“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said in the statement announcing his decision to retire.

“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.”

Microsoft with Steve Ballmer

Steve Ballmer joined Microsoft on June 11, 1980 and was the 30th employee of the company and the first business manager hired by co-founder Bill Gates. He quickly became one Gates’ closest friends, so it’s no surprise that he always had the support of the man who created the biggest software company in the world.

Ballmer was officially named Microsoft CEO in January 2000, even though Gates continued to hold the chairman position until 2006 when he decided to retire completely and focus only on his charity work.

He was in charge of several divisions during the time he spent at Microsoft, including operating system development, sales and support, and operations. He joined the company has a business manager with a salary of $50,000 (€37,500), but he was quickly promoted to Executive Vice President of Sales and Support and then President of the company.

According to Forbes, Steve Ballmer now has a net worth of $15.2 billion (€11.3 billion), which makes him the 22nd richest man in the United States and the 51st in the entire world.

Steve Ballmer is the man behind several successful Microsoft products, even though some of the latest company projects, including Surface and Windows 8, are yet to excite.

For example, Ballmer has managed to boost Microsoft’s annual revenues from $25 billion (€18.7 billion/0 to $70 billion (€52.4 billion), while less successful divisions, such as the Xbox unit, reached $8.9 million (€6.6 million) under his leadership.

And still, it appears that Ballmer’s new vision is the main reason for the avalanche of criticism that has fallen over Microsoft lately.

Windows 8 is yet to help the collapsing PC market, while the Surface tablet is only selling in small numbers across the world. The operating system has barely reached a 5 percent market share more than 6 months after launch, while the tablet caused a $900 million (€770 million) loss due to unsold units.

Microsoft without Steve Ballmer

Now that Steve Ballmer is almost gone, it’s pretty difficult to imagine what’s going to happen next. It would be insane to think that if Ballmer leaves, Microsoft could bring back the Start button in Windows, for example.

No, that’s not going to happen, and the explanation is pretty simple: Ballmer wasn’t making any decisions all by himself.

A report that came out this morning and citing sources close to the matter indicated that ValueAct, the company that recently purchased a $2 billion (€1.5 billion) stake in Microsoft, is looking into ways to make the firm focus more on what’s really important. In other words, dump the unnecessary stuff and keep what’s making money.

Windows will most likely remain the key product for the company, but ValueAct wants Microsoft to continue developments in the software area, while also paying much more attention to hardware.
New Surface tablets are very likely to be released in the future, and taking all recent rumors into account, the second generation is expected to be launched sometime this year, probably in October together with Windows 8.1.

The transition to a devices and services approach will be continued, even though this was Ballmer’s own vision. It’s the right way to go though, and most shareholders most likely know this.

Microsoft needs to expand into some other sectors than software, but it needs to do it right. With Windows 8.1 already around the corner, Windows 9 is probably the first product that will include a non-Ballmer touch. If there will be one.

According to some analysts, ValueAct is pursuing some major changes, including getting rid of the Xbox unit. That’s right, the Xbox unit isn’t yet considered a source of profit, so some shareholders apparently believe that selling it to another tech company would be the right decision.

While this could sound crazy for many people, it might actually make sense for the next Microsoft leadership team, but it remains to be seen if the new administration is going to risk so much on the short term.

Who’s next?

It’s hard to predict who’s coming after Steve Ballmer, but there are a few Softies out there that could get a chance to be named the next Microsoft CEO.

Julie Larson-Green, a former Windows boss and currently the executive vice-president of the Devices and Studios group at Microsoft, has one been considered a potential Ballmer replacement, but she’s now very unlikely to be granted so much power. And so is Tami Reller, the executive vice president, marketing, who joined the company in 2001.

COO Kevin Turner and Executive VP Tony Bates are also in the race for the CEO position, with the latter one of the favorites to take over the helm at Microsoft once Ballmer retires.

The press release rolled out by Microsoft today reveals something really interesting: the company is considering both external and internal candidates.

While the internal candidates are pretty obvious, is there anyone outside the company that could become the next Microsoft CEO?

There is, and the first name that comes in mind is none other than Steven Sinofsky. The man who’s been in charge of the Windows division until early November has all the chances in the world to be named Microsoft CEO. Although he’s very unlikely to return to Microsoft, Sinofsky has the support of both consumers across the world and the company’s shareholders.

Sinofsky left in November after growing tension between him and Ballmer, with some sources claiming that the former Windows chief wanted to become a CEO after the debut of Windows 8. Steve Ballmer initially wanted to hold the position until 2017 or 2018, so Sinofsky decided to leave. This would indeed be a great moment to return.

Last but not least, Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia, one of the key Microsoft partners this year, is also said to be a potential replacement for Ballmer. He previously worked as a president for Microsoft’s Business Division, but left the company in 2010 to become CEO of Nokia.

In the end, it’s not really important who’s coming after Steve Ballmer. But whoever takes over such an important role must keep in mind the only thing that started the anti-Ballmer revolution: users are the ones that count the most.


ManISinJpr 24-08-13 12:10 PM

Re: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to Leave the Company
Much asked and wished for action ! let is see who will be capable enough to lead the company now.

the share price jumped up though ;)

The Knight 25-08-13 02:44 PM

Re: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to Leave the Company
Steve Ballmer's Biggest Regret: Windows Vista

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