Microsoft has announced that its CEO, Steve Ballmer, will retire from his position sometime in the next 12 months. In a statement released on Friday, Microsoft broke the news to the public.
Ballmer, 57, will reportedly stay with the team and personally help find his successor. The company is putting together a special committee, according to USA Today, in order to find Ballmer's replacement. This committee will include board chairman and founder of Microsoft Bill Gates. "I'll work closely with the other members of the board to identify a great new CEO," Gates said.
Ballmer has worked as Microsoft's CEO since 2000. He joined the company as its first business manager back in 1980. During his time as chief executive, he oversaw the launch of the Xbox video game console, the Bing search engine, the $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype and several versions of the Windows operating system go out to market.
"There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time," Ballmer said in a statement.
The company is currently undergoing a very important time in its eventual future. As Windows 8.1 looms on the horizon, the company needs to find a way to take more steps to incorporate traditional desktops and laptops as well as mobile devices, which are growing rapidly as more and more people turn to tablets and smartphones rather than their computers.
"Microsoft has all its best days ahead," said Ballmer in an e-mail to the company's employees. "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."
There is no clue yet as to who his likely successor will be.