| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO Aug 23 Microsoft Corp CEO Steve
Ballmer unexpectedly announced on Friday that he would retire in
2014, 13 years after he took over the dominant personal computer
software company and tried to steer it into growing markets like
video games, portable music players, smartphones and tablets.
The following is a chronology of events during Ballmer's
time as Microsoft chief executive.
1998 - Ballmer assumes role of president at Microsoft and takes
charge of day-to-day operations. Prior to that, he led numerous
divisions, including sales and support and operating-systems
2000 - Ballmer succeeds Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates as CEO
in January. The two met as students at Harvard University, where
Gates lived down the hall from Ballmer. In 1975, 19-year-old
Gates dropped out of Harvard and went on to found Microsoft
along with Paul Allen.
2001 - In November, Microsoft enters the gaming market with the
North American release of its Xbox gaming console, competing
with game consoles from Nintendo Co Ltd and Sony Corp.
2005 - Microsoft launches the next-generation Xbox 360 video
game console in November, strengthening its foothold in the
video game hardware market.
2006 - Microsoft launches Zune portable music player in
November. It is the first Microsoft-designed device to compete
in a market dominated by Apple Inc's iPod. The music
player does not gain enough of a market, and Microsoft
discontinues selling it by mid-2012.
2007 - In January, Microsoft unveils the Windows Vista, which
becomes the company's least popular operating system.
2008 -- Ballmer makes an unsolicited $44.6 billion,
$31-per-share, cash-and-stock takeover offer to Yahoo Inc's
board. Yahoo rejects the bid as too low.
2009 - Microsoft revamps its search engine to counter Google
Inc's dominance in the Web search and related
advertising business. In May, Ballmer reveals the new search
engine, dubbed "Bing" that is set for a June release.
2009 -- In July, Microsoft and Yahoo launch a 10-year Web search
deal to challenge market leader Google. Under the deal, the two
companies agree that Microsoft's Bing search engine will power
search queries on Yahoo's sites. They have been in on-again,
off-again talks since Yahoo rebuffed Microsoft's takeover bid.
2010 - Microsoft releases its Windows Phone operating system for
mobile phones, trying to claw its way into the smartphone market
and woo consumers away from Apple's iPhone and Google's Andriod
2011 - In February, Nokia and Microsoft strike a deal, in a bid
to take on the smartphone market. By 2013, the partnership has
yet to produce a product that has taken market share from Google
2012 - Microsoft, hoping for a hit, launches Surface tablets and
its Windows 8 operating system that uses touch commands. The
devices do not gain much market share in the tablet market,
dominated by Apple's iPad and Samsung's Galaxy mobile devices.
2013 - On August 23, Ballmer announces he will step down within
12 months, surprising industry watchers.