Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer rocked the tech world by dropping a bomb-shell on the media this morning. He announced his retirement from Microsoft. It will be effective within the next 12 months after they have found a replacement for him. Ballmer said, “There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time. 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.” Steve Ballmer has been with Microsoft since Bill Gates hired him as a business manager in 1980. He became the CEO of Microsoft in 2000 when Bill Gates announced his retirement. Despite a string of recent financial misfires from Microsoft with slow Windows 8 adoption and the monstrous Surface RT failure, Ballmer was instrumental in spearheading Microsoft's entry into the gaming console business in 2001 with the first Xbox. He is also well know for his passion and enthusiasm and ability to inspire energy in his teams. Despite his departure, this will now be a time of opportunity for Microsoft. It will be exciting to see the person they find to replace him. Share your perspective on Steve Ballmer leaving Microsoft. Will it be a good thing, a bad thing or something in between?