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Say goodbye to Microsoft's exuberant leader

To say that Microsoft has been in a "holding position" for the past few years would be an understatement. The company has floundered in its smartphone efforts (Kin, Windows Phone), utterly failed in its tablet efforts (Surface RT/Surface Pro), and has taken heavy flak for Windows 8. Even its upcoming Xbox One console has come under heavy criticism (to be fair, Microsoft has backpedaled on some of the major sticking points).
For years, everyone has been pointing fingers at Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and it appears that the big man himself sees the writing on the wall. Microsoft released a statement today indicating that Steve Ballmer will step down within the next 12 months. During that time, Microsoft's Board of Directors has been tasked with finding his successor.
"The board is committed to the effective transformation of Microsoft to a successful devices and services company," John Thompson, committee chairman. "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."
For his part, here's Ballmer in his own words:
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.

Ballmer’s resignation will mark the penultimate phase of Microsoft’s restructuring efforts that began earlier this year with some executive shuffling. The final phase, of course, will be the naming of Ballmer’s successor.

We're gonna miss old Steve. He may be gone from Microsoft within the next year, but his antics will live on in cyberspace:

Source: Microsoft

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Julie Larson
By Captain Awesome on 8/23/2013 10:59:04 AM , Rating: 3
How many months now until Julie Larson has that job?

She's definitely going to get it, because she's the Barack Obama of Microsoft. She's all over the news, she photographs and interviews well, and no one really knows what (if anything) she has accomplished there. But none of that really matters, because there's no possible way she can do a worse job as CEO than her predecessor.

RE: Julie Larson
By retrospooty on 8/23/2013 11:11:04 AM , Rating: 3
I dont doubt it, you might be right, but I think it would be better for MS to get someone from the outside. They need an ass-kicker/decision maker, not another insider that has been there all along in the thick of all the bad decision making.

RE: Julie Larson
By YearOfTheDingo on 8/23/2013 12:23:02 PM , Rating: 2
My money is on Sheryl Sandberg.

RE: Julie Larson
By Monkey's Uncle on 8/23/2013 2:38:02 PM , Rating: 2
No she won't do at all. In order to make it as Ballmer's replacement she has to be able to dance around an auditorium stage like a horny baboon.

RE: Julie Larson
By retrospooty on 8/23/2013 2:50:22 PM , Rating: 2
Ya, but horny baboonery is what got them in trouble. They need a more appeasing ape like a female Bonobo (extra credit to anyone that gets the underlying reference) LOL

RE: Julie Larson
By Motoman on 8/23/2013 4:14:27 PM , Rating: 3
Ya, but horny baboonery is what got them in trouble.

Story of my life.

RE: Julie Larson
By superstition on 8/26/2013 5:33:08 PM , Rating: 2
Female bonobos are actually the ones in charge. Bonobos are matriarchal.

RE: Julie Larson
By Lord 666 on 8/24/2013 10:53:00 AM , Rating: 2
The horny baboon approach would be interesting. It would be funny if a female CEO played to the male IT professional's hormones for sales.

RE: Julie Larson
By Motoman on 8/27/2013 11:51:29 AM , Rating: 3
I see you've never met a females sales rep before.

RE: Julie Larson
By 91TTZ on 8/23/2013 1:16:58 PM , Rating: 2
You're probably right, but that would be a horrible move by Microsoft. I think that people like her are partly responsible for the failure of their latest products. They seem less grounded in usability and more optimized for fashion and trendiness. Microsoft used to be the company you went for when you needed a no-nonsense business product that just got stuff done. It was never the prettiest or the most trendy, but you know that it was usable to get your work done.

If Microsoft puts her in charge, you're going to see a faster move in that direction, and an accelerating decline of the company.

Microsoft is trying to move into a consumer-oriented market that temporarily had huge revenue in the iPod/iPhone/iPad days. Those days are almost over. That market is still there and more popular than ever, but manufacturing has caught up with demand and it's transitioned into a more cut-throat, low-cost market. There are now phones and tablets that would have been industry leaders a few years ago and they're selling for under $200. The low-end stuff is under $100 now.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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