Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has revelead that he is set to retire from the technology giant within the next 12 months.

Microsoft, Steve Ballmer to Retire

Microsoft's shares leapt 9% on the news amid hopes that Microsoft will take a new drive forward to the booming mobile market industry.

Mr Ballmer, who last month unveiled a restructuring to address the criticism, said in a statement: "There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction."

The world's biggest software company has created a special committee to find a replacement. This committee includes Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Mr Ballmer, 57, succeeded Mr Gates in 2000. The two men met in 1973 while studying at Harvard University, and Mr Ballmer joined the company in 1980.

Microsoft emerged as the undisputed leader in the technology sector, and became the world's largest company by market value. However, Microsoft has been criticised by investors recently for not reacting quickly enough to the way Apple and Google have led the way in mobile devices.

Microsoft, being heavily desktop and laptop based with the dominance of the Windows OS, struggled as consumers began to shun away PC's in favour of tablets and mobile devices.

With Mr Ballmer's retirement will remain a positive legacy of Microsoft - the company has more than tripled revenues and doubled profits under Mr Ballmer's leadership and we look forward to what Microsoft offers in the future.

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