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Chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., Steve Ballmer, who unveiled his retirement plan on Friday, has written an internal letter to Microsoft employees. In the letter he shares his thoughts and feelings about the past, present and future of the world’s largest software developer. Below, the letter is published as is.

I am writing to let you know that I will retire as CEO of Microsoft within the next 12 months, after a successor is chosen. There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our transformation to a devices and services company focused on empowering customers in the activities they value most. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction. You can read the press release on Microsoft News Center.

This is a time of important transformation for Microsoft. Our new senior leadership team is amazing. The strategy we have generated is first class. Our new organization, which is centered on functions and engineering areas, is right for the opportunities and challenges ahead.

Microsoft is an amazing place. I love this company. I love the way we helped invent and popularize computing and the PC. I love the bigness and boldness of our bets. I love our people and their talent and our willingness to accept and embrace their range of capabilities, including their quirks. I love the way we embrace and work with other companies to change the world and succeed together. I love the breadth and diversity of our customers, from consumer to enterprise, across industries, countries, and people of all backgrounds and age groups.

I am proud of what we have achieved. We have grown from $7.5 million to nearly $78 billion since I joined Microsoft, and we have grown from employing just over 30 people to almost 100,000. I feel good about playing a role in that success and having committed 100 percent emotionally all the way. We have more than 1 billion users and earn a great profit for our shareholders. We have delivered more profit and cash return to shareholders than virtually any other company in history.

I am excited by our mission of empowering the world and believe in our future success. I cherish my Microsoft ownership, and look forward to continuing as one of Microsoft’s largest owners.

This is an emotional and difficult thing for me to do. I take this step in the best interests of the company I love; it is the thing outside of my family and closest friends that matters to me most.

Microsoft has all its best days ahead. Know you are part of the best team in the industry and have the right technology assets. We cannot and will not miss a beat in these transitions. I am focused and driving hard and know I can count on all of you to do the same. Let’s do ourselves proud.


Tags: Microsoft, Business


Comments currently: 5
Discussion started: 08/23/13 12:55:59 PM
Latest comment: 08/25/13 04:35:13 AM
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In before all the hate of steve blamer gets posted even though he presided over a trippling in revenues and a doubling in profit. Of course every single bug / choice microsoft ever made in the last 15 years is clearly his fault, and no one else was consulted
0 0 [Posted by: cashkennedy  | Date: 08/23/13 12:55:59 PM]
- collapse thread

Honestly, he started tenure around when the xbox was released. It wouldn't be fair to give him credit for that. Honestly what has microsoft done good since then? Windows 7? I guess but bill had to step in for that to even happen. In my eyes, ballmer has presided over a period of missing emerging markets and failure to re-invent microsoft's image. The new look of microsoft's software is just bad and they can't even crack the phone market. Not to mention the latest debacle with the xbox. Do I even need to mention the failure to listen to customer feedback?

It's cool to play devil's advocate once in awhile but this man's career is too marred to be considered a good MS CEO.
0 0 [Posted by: evernessince  | Date: 08/23/13 07:38:44 PM]
What has Microsoft done since then ?
1) SQL Server - fastest growing database platform in the world
2) Lync - Taking over the VOIP business from CISCO
3) Azure - Ballmer made a bet to go cloud - Azure is a success ( iCloud uses Azure )
4) Sharepoint - many organizations use this as intranet / for ECM
5) Office - Still a big success - its competition is free and can't crack the market
6) Hyper-V - eating into VMWares share of virtualization slowly
7) Kinect - a reasonable success and good future potential
etc etc etc
0 0 [Posted by: Thando Gqabaza  | Date: 08/24/13 01:01:08 AM]
Kinect isn't a reasonable success. If you count basically giving them away with new systems as good sales, then you need to look deeper. Go see reviews involving the kinect, it's the opposite of a success.

Office was dominant before ballmer came in and he managed to not totally screw that up. I wouldn't call the ribbon interface amazing and really nothing innovative has been done with that. Well unless you count this crappy office 365 subscription service, what a waste.

Hyper-V is a decent solution into virtualization but as all other MS products, nothing amazing is done with it. Unless MS wants to invest serious R&D into it, I see it capping. This shouldn't be a list item either, seeing as even you say it hasn't panned out yet. If we were all to go and make a list of things he's going to do or could do, of course the list is going to be longer.

Sharepoint once again cannot be credited to ballmer. Most of what you see today in that software was available before he even came into tenure and we are only just started to see his changes 5 years ago.

Azure is a good cloud framework but it's too early to call it a success. I wouldn't even call ballmer developing this innovative at all, everyone else was doing it. Ballmer just follows trends and most of the time comes out wit so-so products as a result. Azure was above the mark but still too soon to be on a list of successes.

Lync is great for video conferencing with a large amount of people but not for small groups. Not only that but you need office 365 to even get the client. As your other points, this is still not to be considered a success.

Microsoft SQL, obviously a very popular database language, was around way before ballmer's term as CEO. 2005 < 2009. Once again not credible to ballmer.

Any other point that you have? Maybe you need some time to scan the internet to help support your argument, eh?

0 0 [Posted by: evernessince  | Date: 08/24/13 10:11:25 AM]
Kinect - fair enough , but I'm not talking about XBox , I'm talking about next gen interfaces. There are already medical applications for Kinect.
Office - he still maintained the dominant position of it , and Office 365 seems to have decent uptake from EA customers moving to an Opex model.
Sharepoint - really took off with the 2007 version
Lync - You don't need O365 to get it , you can buy it individually , and it definitely has Cisco running scared. Obviously Ballmer would have made the decision to enter the VOIP business. The Skype buy was his call as well.
SQL - a decent database previously , but really became a Tier 1 option after SQL 2005. Once again , I'm sure he would have approved the push to invest in SQL What has IBM done with DB2 in the meantime ?
By the way , Ballmer became CEO in 2000. How do I know these things ? I'm an IT manager and we procure MS software on EA. I will agree that Ballmer could have done more on the consumer side - he definitely missed the boat there.
0 0 [Posted by: Thando Gqabaza  | Date: 08/25/13 04:35:13 AM]


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