Microsoft's Ballmer says he's going to retire

The CEO of Microsoft – Steve Ballmer – is going to step down as the chief executive of Microsoft within the next 12 months, the company said today.

Shares of Microsoft (MSFT) stock rose on the news.

Microsoft has created a special committee to find a successor to Ballmer. Microsoft founder Bill Gates will sit on that committee. The company will consider both outsiders and insiders as successors.

In a statement, Ballmer said Microsoft needed a CEO who would be around long term as the firm changes to a devices and services company.

Wall Street has wanted Ballmer to go for some time.  Rather like Intel, Microsoft has missed the boat on the move to smartphones and tablets.  Its own attempt to make money on the Surface RT tablet went disastrously wrong, forcing the Voe to take a close to $1 billion charge last month.

Sales of Windows 8 are also in the doldrums as competitors and former partners see Android platforms as a better bet.