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Microsoft says CEO Steve Ballmer to retire in 12 months

NEW YORK — Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who took over the helm of the world's largest software company from founder Bill Gates, will retire within the next year.

Microsoft Corp. did not name a successor, but said the company is forming a search committee, which will include Gates. Ballmer will stay on until a replacement is found.

"There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time," Ballmer, 57, said in a statement released by the Redmond, Wash., company.

After the news broke, Microsoft's stock shot up as much as 9 percent shortly after the markets opened. The shares came within two dollars of their 52-week high.

Microsoft has recently struggled under Ballmer. The CEO's announcement comes less than two months after the company unveiled a sweeping reorganization of its business in an attempt to reignite competition with faster-moving rivals such as Apple and Google.


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