Friday, 23 August 2013

Steve Ballmer To Retire From Microsoft

The news has broken today that Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, is to step down from the technology giant at some point in the next 12 months.

In a statement released today, Ballmer said "There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time. 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 have set up a committee to find a successor for Ballmer, which contains former CEO and current chairman Bill Gates, among a host of other board members and executives.

Ballmer joined Microsoft in 1980 as business manager and worked his way up within the company, eventually succeeding founder Bill Gates as CEO in 2000.

Under Ballmer's leadership Microsoft has seen the move from Windows into new territories including video games with the Xbox, media players such as the Zune and the tablet and smartphone market with Windows Phone and Windows 8 RT.

The transition that Ballmer refers to hasn't always been smooth. Microsoft has been under fierce fire in recent years for missing the boat when it comes to new technology, having been beaten in the phone market by Apple and Samsung, losing out to the iPod with the ill fated Zune service and players and the reduction of Microsofts dominance of the PC market as Apple and Linux keep making ground.

Most recently, Microsoft has had to weather two storms from the public, one being the radical and unpopular redesign featured in Windows 8 as well as the well documented and massively unpopular online functionality of the upcoming Xbox One (though to be fair, Ballmer had little to do with the Xbox One, Don Mattrick had to deal with the brunt of that).

Microsoft will find themselves at a fork with Ballmer stepping down. They could bring in a CEO who focuses on the computer market and addresses consumer feedback with Windows and their software packages or they could try to take on Apple and bring in a CEO who focuses on products in an attempt to take on other hardware providers.

Either way, it's an unexpected development and we'll be following Microsoft's moves in the future.


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