Microsoft's Steve Ballmer set to retire within 12 months.

Microsoft's Steve Ballmer Set to Retire

Microsoft's Steve Ballmer Set to Retire

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Aug. 23 2013 10:00 AM

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.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.