Microsoft has announced the Steve Ballmer, the company’s face and CEO since 2000 will retire in a year’s time. A special committee will pick a successor to control the tech giant’s future.

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Microsoft’s board of directors put together a special committee once the news broke, and they will direct the entire succession process. The committee includes such Microsoft luminaries as Bill Gates, John Thompson, and Chuck Noski.

“The board is committed to the effective transformation of Microsoft to a successful devices and services company,…As this work continues, we are focused on selecting a new CEO to work with the company’s senior leadership team to chart the company’s course and execute on it in a highly competitive industry.” – John Thompson

Long time Microsoft head Steve Ballmer is calling it a career

Redmond has also hooked up with Chicago-based firm Heidrick and Struggles to help them require externally and internally.

“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,…We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing Senior Leadership Team. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our company’s transformation to a devices and services company. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction.” – Steve Ballmer

Ballmer has taken a lot of the burden for Microsoft’s recent woes

Microsoft's Stock Price under Ballmer's Reign
Microsoft’s Stock Price under Ballmer’s Reign

Ballmer has been blamed for Microsoft’s stagnate growth in the past few years, as the 2000’s have seen the PC giant toppled in favor of mobile phones and tablets. Ballmer is fingered as the man many blame for missing the mobile computing revolution.

A number of recent company failures, such as the Surface Tablet, and the lackluster Windows 8 were seen as indications that Microsoft was no longer in touch with consumers, and Microsoft has been hampered by its inability to innovate faster than Apple and others.

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