The lights are on
The shake-ups at Microsoft continue with the announcement
that company CEO Steve Ballmer will retire sometime in the next year.
Microsoft revealed the news today. The announcement
contained a statement from Ballmer that said, "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."
Ballmer will remain as CEO until his successor is chosen. A
special committee, which includes company founder Bill Gates, has been
appointed to choose the company's next CEO.
This is another major change in Microsoft's management.
Recently, the company's president of interactive entertainment, Don Mattrick,
departed the company to become the CEO of Zynga. Following that move, the
company reorganized its Xbox and interactive entertainment divisions, splitting
its Xbox operating system and hardware businesses.
Steve Ballmer has been with Microsoft since 1980, when he
was hired to be the company's business manager by Bill Gates. He led several
divisions of the company on his way to becoming CEO in 2000. His tenure as CEO has
been troubled at times. Though the company experienced big successes with
products like the Xbox 360 and Windows 7, it also struggled to adapt to the
emerging mobile market and launched a series of unsuccessful products like the
search engine Bing. Recently, Windows 8 was released to substantial criticism
Our Take:Change is coming to
Microsoft - and fast. This is a huge announcement. Ballmer is one of the
iconic figures in Microsoft history, and his over-the-top, gonzo speaking style
was his trademark. Though his period as CEO was a somewhat mixed bag, he had
been there for the company's entire run, something not many can claim. With
both Mattrick and Ballmer gone, it will be interesting to see the direction
Microsoft takes in the future. It's certainly got a lot of challenges,
especially in the business/OS space, ahead of it. How this will affect the
company's Xbox business is unknown, but with all the shake-ups it's clear
things will change on that side as well.
Email the author Matt Helgeson, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.