Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer today revealed that he will retire from the company within the next 12 months, as he makes way for his successor.
Ballmer will remain as CEO while a special committee, appointed by the Microsoft Board of Directors, decides on who will lead the company next.
The Microsoft boss says that there is "never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time." Of course, Ballmer will be stepping down in the first year of the company's Xbox One console.
Although the CEO has carried Microsoft's Windows PC business far over the years, many investors have criticized Ballmer for missing the mobile and cloud computering trends in recent years.
With previous Microsoft entertainment head Don Mattrick leaving the company earlier this year
, Ballmer has taken control of Microsoft's Xbox business, although the company hasn't said whether this is a permanent move.
Within minutes of the announcement that Ballmer is stepping down, Microsoft share price has surged pre-market, up roughly 9 percent.