Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced this morning that he will be stepping down from his position within the next 12 months. The executive has been a part of Microsoft for over 33 years, joining the company as its first business manager and only its 30th employee. Ballmer praised his executive team in a statement this morning, saying that "now is the right time" for him to step aside.
He isn't the only one that thinks so.
Investors pounced on this news as the NASDAQ opened this morning. Microsoft shares opened trading at 35.16, up over 9% from Thursday's closing price of 32.39. Though the initial surge was inevitably moderated, Microsoft share price is still up over 1.50 and appears that it will trade at around 34 for the remainder of the day, up over 5% from yesterday's close.
Microsoft stock had been rising since April on news of solid quarterly earnings and a change in the company's CFO. The stock reached a high of 36.27 in mid-July. The rising trend was suddenly halted when Microsoft revealed its fourth quarter report. Despite revenues of nearly $20 billion, the company revealed that its highly-touted Surface RT tablets were a failure, and that $900 million worth of the devices were sitting around, unsold. Microsoft is now trying to get rid of the tablets while promoting the use of the Bing search engine in schools.
(Image courtesy Martin Olsson via Wikimedia Commons)