Now, Ballmer has announced his decision to retire within 12 months, a time that the company will spend looking for a worthy successor. Microsoft stock has surged on the news.
Known for his eccentricity, Ballmer will be remembered for managing Microsoft throughout ups and downs - from the Windows Vista fiasco to the fix with Windows 7, then again to the underwhelming Windows 8. The chief executive laughed off the iPhone when it first launched and the company largely missed the mobile revolution and is now struggling to find relevance with its Windows Phone operating system. On the flipside of things, under Ballmer, the pillars of Microsoft grew even stronger as the enterprise became huge reliant on Office and Windows, with Office bringing huge amounts of profits and covering for multi-million dollar failures like the Surface RT tablet.
Who do you think should become the new chief executive of Microsoft?