Here is Steve’s open letter to employees announcing his retirement plants titled “Moving Forward”: Steve Ballmer joined Microsoft in 1980, becoming the first business manager. In 2000, he took the role as CEO replacing Bill Gates. Now in 2014, after 34 long years Steve is saying goodbye to the company. 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. Steve”

Who will replace SteveB?

The big question right now is who will be the next Chief Executive Officer? The software giant is already on the hunt and according to Mary Jo Foley from ZDNet, the short list of candidates could include: COO Kevin Turner, Executive VP of Marketing Tami Reller, Tony Bates, or Satya Nadella. Also it could be Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, Former Windows Chief Steven Sinofsky, or Former Juniper CEO Kevin Johnson. I am really surprise not to see Julie Larson-Green, she is currently the Executive Vice-President of Devices and Studios group, I had the privilege to meet her in the past and I think she could be an outstanding candidate. Oh! And you to make it real clear, Bill Gates isn’t coming back. I’m going to miss his positive attitude and character:

Microsoft also has created a video highlighting Steve and getting to One Microsoft (strangely there is only audio for the first 80 seconds, then it’s just visuals), take a look:

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