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August 20, 2014

Why Steve Ballmer has left Microsoft board

“I bleed Microsoft – have for 34 years,” says the former CEO.

By Joe Curtis

Steve Ballmer stepped down from Microsoft’s board yesterday, effective immediately.

The former CEO told new boss Satya Nadella that "I bleed Microsoft" in his resignation letter, but took the decision to leave the board to devote more time to his role as the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team.

He wrote in the public letter: "It would be impractical for me to continue to serve on the board, and it is best for me to move off. The fall will be hectic between teaching a new class and the start of the NBA season so my departure from the board is effective immediately.

"Microsoft has been my life’s work and I am proud of that and excited by what I see in front of the company and this leadership team. There are challenges ahead but the opportunities are even larger."

Ballmer’s resignation from the board comes six months after his retirement when Nadella replaced him as CEO.

Nadella set about introducing a new mobile-first, cloud-first strategy and announcing 18,000 lay-offs in the process.

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Ballmer praised the management board as having "boldness and fearlessness" essential to monetise Redmond’s various businesses, including software, hardware and cloud subscriptions.

But despite stepping down, Ballmer made it clear he wants to remain slightly involved.

"I bleed Microsoft – have for 34 years and I always will," he said. "I continue to love discussing the company’s future. I love trying new products and sending feedback. I love reading about what is going on at the company. Count on me to keep ideas and inputs flowing."

Nadella replied: "It’s been a great privilege to have worked with you and learned from you. Under your leadership, we created an incredible foundation that we continue to build on — and Microsoft will thrive in the mobile-first, cloud-first world."

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