SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft’s Chief Executive Steve Ballmer announced on Friday that he would retire within 12 months, opening a new chapter for a company struggling to keep pace with the fast-changing tech sector. Microsoft shares leapt as much as 9% in pre-market trade and closed up 7.3% after the surprise announcement. “There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said in a statement. Ballmer took over as CEO in 2000 from co-founder Bill Gates, a classmate and friend from their days at Harvard University in the 1970s. When Ballmer took over, Microsoft was the undisputed tech sector leader, and the world’s largest company in market value. But in recent years it has struggled as consumers began to move from desktop and laptop PCs to mobile devices. “Essentially Microsoft missed the shift to high mobility entirely,” said Roger Kay, analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th 2013.