The Slatest

Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer Set to Retire

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaks during the keynote address during the Microsoft Build Conference on June 26, 2013 in San Francisco

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Microsoft announced Friday that longtime CEO Steve Ballmer will retire within the next 12 months. The company’s board has appointed a special committee—that includes chairman Bill Gates—to find a replacement, something that is expected to happen before Ballmer heads for the door. Here’s the Wall Street Journal with more:

Under Mr. Ballmer, Microsoft has endured years of investor criticism as the rise of mobile devices and Internet services eroded the influence of the personal computer-era kingpin. The company has responded to the pressures in a variety of ways already, including developing and selling its own tablet-style computer in competition with longtime partners. …

The announcement comes as the tech giant is working to become a different kind of company, known less for programs that people buy than for devices and services that require software. Microsoft has been squeezed by a shift in consumer and business spending to tablets and smartphones and away from PCs.

As Ballmer pointed out in his note to staff, Microsoft has grown from a $7.5-million company with around 30 employees to a nearly $78-billion one that employs nearly 100,000 since he joined in 1980. Microsoft jumped 9 percent in premarket trading following the news.