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Microsoft's stock slumped under Ballmer's direction

In the 13 years since Bill Gates handed over the CEO spot at Microsoft, the technology landscape has seen seismic shifts.
By MATTHEW CRAFT AND CHRISTINA REXRODE Published: August 24, 2013
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— When Steve Ballmer took over as CEO in January 2000, Microsoft was the titan of tech and the world's most valuable company.

My, how things have changed.

In the 13 years since Bill Gates handed over the CEO spot, the technology landscape has seen seismic shifts. The Internet bubble popped. Apple's iPods, iPhones and iPads became ubiquitous. Google became a verb.

The years have been less kind to Microsoft. When Ballmer became CEO, Microsoft had a market value of $604 billion.

When Microsoft announced on Friday that Ballmer would be stepping down as CEO within the next year, the company's stock shot up as much as 9 percent shortly after the markets opened. They came within two dollars of their 52-week high. Microsoft shares rose $2.36, or 7 percent, to close Friday's trading at $34.75.

Under Gates, Microsoft dominated the software industry throughout the 1990s. Newly minted “Microsoft millionaires” left to launch tech companies, venture-capital firms and charities. Paul Allen, a boyhood buddy of Gates' who helped co-found the company, bought the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trailblazers and opened a pop-culture museum. Gates used his billions to launch the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has influenced health and education policy.

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Also ...

CEO plans

retirement

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who succeeded founder Bill Gates as CEO, will retire within the next 12 months.

The world's biggest software company did not name a successor.

Microsoft Corp.'s stock shot up 9 percent in premarket trading following the news.

Ballmer, 57, first met Microsoft founder Bill Gates in 1973 while they were living down a dormitory hall from each other at Harvard University. He joined Microsoft in 1980 to bring some business discipline and salesmanship to a company that had just landed a contract to supply an operating system for a personal computer that IBM would release in 1981.

Ballmer did the job so well that he would become Gates' sounding board and succeed him as CEO in 2000.

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