Ballmer bids adieu at Microsoft's annual event

28 Sep 2013


Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer, 57 bid a tearful farewell to the company he worked with for 33 years on Thursday. Ballmer danced to Michael Jackson's Wanna Be Startin' Somethin', and declared that the company would "change the world again".

Steve BallmerThe annual company-wide event saw over 13,000 employees queue up to join in.

No replacement chief executive has been announced by the firm yet.

Ballmer would retire next year as the company takes stock of its position in a bid regain lost ground in the strategic mobile sector.

During his tenure at the top, Ballmer became known for delivering presentations that combined vigour, enthusiasm and his love for Microsoft and its products, which he made a point to highlight.

Microsoft staff posted details of the event, on social media, of Ballmer's last appearance, described as being more like a "rock concert".

The venue of the event was the 17,000-capacity Key Arena in Seattle, usually used for basketball and ice hockey.

Charles Naut, a project manager at the company, posted an image of the "very moving" speech on Instagram, showing Ballmer end his talk by saying, "I've had the time of my life!" of the famous Dirty Dancing song that was played out at the event.

At the hour-long talk he delivered to the emotionally charged masses, Ballmer promised them ''we will deliver the next big thing … we will change the world again''.

''We have unbelievable potential in front of us, we have an unbelievable destiny," said a visibily emotional Ballmer reusing a quote from the very first Microsoft staff meeting in 1983.

"Only our company and a handful of others are poised to write the future," he continued. "We're going to think big, we're going to bet big," he is reported to have said.

Taking digs at rivals that left the software giant behind, in the process opening the door for his exit, Ballmer dismissed Apple as being ''fashionable'', Amazon as ''cheap'', and Google as ''knowing more'' against Microsoft ''doing more''.

But even as the curtain rung down on the event the question remained open. Among the likely candidates are said to be Ford CEO Alan Mulally, ex-Microsoft group president and soon-to-be-ex-Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop.

Company chairman Bill Gates, who is one of the three members of a special committee tasked with selecting the new CEO, has denied interest in the role.

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