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.