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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Announces Retirement

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

One year: That’s how long that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has before he retires as the head of the company. In a news release today, Microsoft announced that the chief executive officer will stay until the company has chosen his successor.

“There’s no heir apparent,” said Nick Wingfield, technology correspondent for the New York Times. “A number of people who were thought to be the heirs apparent have left the company.” Some speculate one of them may be convinced to return.

Microsoft stock jumped nine percent upon Ballmer’s announcement. Geekwire co-founder Todd Bishop attributed this to investor frustration from Microsoft's long-stagnant stock. “I think investors are just happy that something is changing," he said. "It’s not a surprise at all that the stock would surge on the news that Ballmer is stepping down."

Bishop said Ballmer’s retirement “could be a real jolt in the arm for Microsoft.” However, he also said the next person in line will have plenty of battles to fight going forward – particularly on the smart phone front from Apple and tablet competition from Android.

According to Bishop though, "This is an opportunity for Microsoft to embark on a new era with a completely new leader and entirely new philosophy."

The Ballmer family has backed many causes in Washington state including marriage equality and charter schools. Ballmer also invested in this year’s effort to return an NBA team to Seattle.

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