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Steve Ballmer to Retire as Microsoft CEO

by Shashank Bhardwaj

Monkey Boy Steve Ballmer is leaving Microsoft. In an announcement last week, the CEO of Microsoft said he will be retiring from the company ‘within the next 12 months’.

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Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer To Retire

Steve Ballmer joined Microsoft way back in 1980, took over as Microsoft CEO from founder Bill Gates in January 2000 and has been leading the tech giant since. During his tenure, he oversaw the launch of many success – Windows 7, Windows 8, and failures – Windows Phone, Windows Vista. Ballmer received constant criticism from rivals for products like Windows Phone, which failed to make a mark, letting Apple and Samsung capture almost all of the worldwide smartphone. Ever since he took over, Microsoft’s stocks have lost about 35%, and shareholders have had a return of -17%. News of his decision to retire had Microsoft stocks shooting up 8% on the day of announcement. In a press release by Microsoft, 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.

Was Ballmer Forced Out?

Interestingly, in 2008, Ballmer had said in passing, that he wouldn’t be retiring until 2018. Rumors are already surfacing that his decision to retire wasn’t his own, but one that was forced upon him by the company’s board of directors. According to Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, Ballmer was “pushed out by the board” after the company faced a $900 million loss on its Windows 8 RT-based Surface devices. The CEO apparently miscalculated big time and Microsoft had to slash prices of its tablets by $150. The process to choose Ballmer’s successor at Microsoft has begun. The successor will be chosen by a special committee  that will include Bill Gates and be headed by John Thompson. The company will consider both Microsoft employees and outsiders in a search that will be assisted by recruitment firm Heidrick & Struggles.

“[Microsoft is] fortunate to have Steve in his role until the new CEO assumes these duties.” – Bill Gates.

‘Monkey Boy’

Steve was nicknamed ‘Monkey Boy’, a title he was given when he jumped on stage in front of the audience, on the occasion of Microsoft’s 25th anniversary. His net worth is currently valued at $15 billion by Forbes. Here’s the infamous clip of Ballmer’s Monkey Boy act: [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvsboPUjrGc]

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