Steve Ballmer’s Full Goodbye Letter To Microsoft Employees

A very personal email from Steve Ballmer to all Microsoft employees explaining he will retire within the year:

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.


  • Duk3togo

    Steve Ballmer was a much better CEO then most make it seem. If it was up to me I would buyout Nokia bringing elop in house and make him CEO. That IMHO, he has the personality and the drive, plus has a way with the media.

  • jim

    Bye bye Steve. And the NEXT CEO is?

    • Emily the Strange

      is this the only comment your brain lets your spam? you dont have more words? wow….

      • Tips_y


  • Ray

    Normally, it will be better to plan a radical change to an origination with the new leader. Otherwise, you won’t know whether you need to change the org again next year.

    • sergey

      Agree. Very strange decision.

  • SategB

    Thank goodness for MSFT this monkey is out. His whole stratigy of extend and defend Windows and Office has left the company in a death spiral. He leaving the company in a mess. It will be lucky if it will survive as we know it.

    6 years too late!

    • Joe_HTH

      “It will be lucky if it will survive as we know it.”

      Oh God, shut up with the hyperbole. Microsoft will be here long after you’re dead and gone.

      • SategB

        There will be a company called Microsoft but it will look nothing like it does today. It will be broken up in pieces of 4 or 5 entities with in profitable ones sold to the highest buyer while the other pieces try to scratch out some meaningful existence over the next 10 years.

        Been a good run but it is a has been selling buggy whips in a world of cars.

        • Tips_y

          I can totally add you to my growing list of delusional people who were proven wrong about their predictions of the demise or near demise of Microsoft down through the years.

    • nohone

      So extending and defending the two most popular franchises in human history is a bad thing? Windows has over a billion active users worldwide, making their competition – Linux and OSX – a has ran footnote in history. Office makes the offering from Google look like a children’s toy. Hundreds of billions of dollars are earned worldwide by companies using Office, and those who switch to Google for their office needs, quickly switch back.
      Now let’s look at their competition. Apple has two products that they depend upon for all their revenue. IPhone has lost their majority of their market share to Android, and while small, WP is growing and scoring major wins in Europe. IPad sales are down, with the low margin Mini making up a majority of those sales. The only reason Mac is still around is to provide developers with a way to develop for iOS, and even those sales are down. And unless you are a die hard Apple fan, iOS7 appeals to nobody except for 7 year old girls.
      Google also has only two real products, search, YouTube and Android. Android is growing, but making Google very little in ways of profits. Everything else is eventually shut down because of their failures, except for ChromeBook, the device that sold less on 4 years than Microsoft sold in one quarter of the supposed failure Surface RT.
      People said that Apple was going to collapse, and look where they are now. And their recent success was because of Jobs (and he was not the success people would have you believe, otherwise we would all be using Next), who is gone and now they have a guy in charge who is not advancing the company. And Microsoft is in a much, much better position today than Apple would ever hoped to be back then.