Shocking news today from Redmond, Washington: Steve Ballmer is retiring. Ballmer sent out a letter to his employees stating his desire to retire within the next 12 months. Ballmer will retire when a successor is chosen.
Ballmer, who joined Microsoft in 1980, was the company’s 30th employee. Today, Microsoft employs nearly 100,000 people around the world. The company was worth $7.5 million when Ballmer first arrived and today it is worth $78 billion.
Since 2000, Microsoft has largely thrived under the leadership of Ballmer. Aside from the speed bumps of Windows Vista and the more recent Windows 8, Ballmer leaves behind a strong legacy. Under his leadership, Microsoft created the Xbox 360, Windows XP, and Windows 7, among other awesome products.
Basically, Ballmer’s press release states that the company needs a CEO that is fully committed to taking Microsoft in a new long-term direction. Ballmer, at age 57, apparently didn’t want to be around the company much longer. And as one of the richest men in the world, he probably has a comfortable retirement lined up.
Microsoft has published the entire email at its official site here.

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