The head of Microsoft has announced he is retiring. Steve Ballmer has been running the company since Bill Gates stepped away from day to day operations more than a decade ago.
Ballmer said he plans to retire in the next year. “There is never a perfect time for this type of transition but now is the right time,” the billionaire, 57, said in a statement.
Ballmer met Gates in 1973 when the two attended Harvard. He joined the corporation in 1980 and helped launch the Windows operating software. Microsoft remained profitable under Ballmer but the technology giant has started losing ground in recent years to competitors like Apple.
Ballmer recently shifted the company’s focus from software to tablets and phones but sales remain lackluster.
A special committee including Bill Gates will now start searching for a new CEO. Shares of Microsoft jumped 8 percent after the news broke this morning.