Microsoft's Chief Executive Officer, Steve Ballmer, has decided that he will be retiring within the next 12 months after choosing a successor.

The news was announced on the Microsoft news site earlier today. The Board of Directors has assembled a committee, which includes Bill Gates, to choose a successor for Ballmer. They have already initiated the succession process and Ballmer will still serve as CEO until his successor has been chosen.

Ballmer thought that this would be the best time for him to retire since the company is moving in a new direction, focusing on devices and services. He said, "There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time. We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing Senior Leadership Team. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our company’s transformation to a devices and services company. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction.”

We'll update you if any development has been made with regard to Ballmer's successor being chosen. Until then, let us know in the comments what you think about his decision to retire and the future of Microsoft.