After 13+ years being as CEO, Steve Ballmer will be stepping down from his post soon. In a press release, Microsoft has announced that CEO Steve Ballmer has decided to retire as CEO within the next 12 months once his successor is elected.

Microsoft has been through the biggest transition ever as a “device and services company”, and the CEO’s decision will have a major impact on future of the company.

“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said. “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.”

A committee chaired by John Thompson, the board’s lead independent director, including the Chairman of the Board Bill Gates, Chairman of the Audit Committee Chuck Noski and Chairman of the Compensation Committee Steve Luczo has been organized. Certainly, Steve’s retirement marks a turning point as the recruiting committee, which is considering both internal and external candidates for the CEO post.

“As a member of the succession planning committee, I’ll work closely with the other members of the board to identify a great new CEO,” said Bill Gates. “We’re fortunate to have Steve in his role until the new CEO assumes these duties.”

In January 2000, Baller was appointed the new CEO of the company to continue Bill Gates legacy. During his tenure, he handled the business and finances, and made major changes in strategies at Microsoft, and surged the annual revenue unexpectedly, though all such gains were coming from Windows and Office products. He also built new divisions and embarked data centers, Xbox entertainment, reinvented Windows 8 and Windows Phone OS, Office 365, Surface tablets and so forth.

However, Ballmer has also faced criticism for Microsoft’s share price in past few years because the company couldn’t capitalize on several new consumer technologies. In May 2012 Forbes magazine even described him as “the worst CEO of a large publicly traded American company”, saying he had “steered Microsoft out of some of the fastest growing and most lucrative tech markets (mobile music, handsets and tablets)”.

There has been a list of future leaders of the company and potential successors to Ballmer as Microsoft CEO; however, most of them have departed the company, and few already have major responsibilities at Microsoft. So what’s Next for Microsoft now?

Source: Microsoft