Bye-Bye, Ballmer, Bye-Bye

But what a way to go:

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made $1 billion quitting. The perennially embattled software boss said this morning he would retire within the next 12 months. At the market open, his 333.252 million were up 10% as investors cheered the end of the Ballmer era, a period in which the company returned more than $150 billion to shareholders and grew through the post-dotcom recession and the credit bubble collapse, yet utterly failed to get credit for anything. As my colleague Steve Schaefer reports, Microsoft shareholders have had a negative total return of nearly 20%, with the stock down 36%, according to data from FactSet, since the day Ballmer took over as CEO in January 2000.

“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said.

I hope MS gets a product guy (or gal) as CEO after Ballmer’s gone.