Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to retire

Microsoft announced today that its CEO of 13 years, Steve Ballmer, will be retiring. The company is planning a 12 month window in which to find a successor. That task is being headed up by a special committee that includes Chairman of the Board Bill Gates, among others.

Ballmer started at Microsoft in 1980 as one of the first members of the now-massive corporation, and spent 20 years serving as the head of various divisions before being named CEO in 2000. He's credited with heading up some of its notable acquisitions like Skype. However, he's also been criticized for Microsoft's slow turn to mobile with Windows Phone, and most recently, the failures of Surface.

Microsoft has gone through some internal restructuring recently, with gamers most impacted by the departure of Don Mattrick, who left for Zynga. He was eventually replaced by Julie Larson-Green.

"There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time," Ballmer said in the announcement. "We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing Senior Leadership Team. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our company’s transformation to a devices and services company. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction."

We can't say how Ballmer's departure will impact Microsoft's Xbox division, but we do know that he was a strong advocate for developers.