When you announce your retirement, and stock prices jump UP.
BloombergSteve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., delivers the keynote during the Microsoft Build Developers Conference in San Francisco, Calif. on June 26, 2013.
He added that while his "original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our company's transformation to a devices and services company," Microsoft needs a CEO who will be here longer term for the new direction.
The company's board has appointed a special committee—members of whom include Chairman Bill Gates—to find a new CEO, and will consider both external and internal candidates.
Microsoft, although vastly profitable, has been stymied in its efforts to adapt to a range of new computing platforms and approaches.
Mr. Ballmer last month announced a sweeping reorganization of the company, which is aimed partly at increasing the company's momentum in tablets and smartphones.
Mr. Ballmer has led several Microsoft divisions during the past 32 years, including operations, operating systems development, and sales and support. In July 1998, he was promoted to president, a role that gave him day-to-day responsibility for running Microsoft. He was named Microsoft's CEO in January 2000.
Under Mr. Ballmer, Microsoft has endured years of investor criticism as the rise of mobile devices and Internet services eroded the influence of the personal computer-era kingpin. The company has responded to the pressures in a variety of ways already, including taking the radical move of developing and selling its own tablet-style computer in competition with longtime partners.
In July, Microsoft reported that it took a $900 million charge on its high-profile Surface RT tablet, contributing to fourth-quarter results that sharply missed revenue and profit expectations.