Controversial, aggressive , energetic, competitive: all these words have been used to describe the outgoing CEO of Microsoft. Steve Ballmer‘s career started with a job marketing brownie and muffin mixes at Procter & Gamble. But not long after that Bill Gates tapped his college buddy to handle the business side of Microsoft. He went on to hold a variety of positions at Microsoft including vice president of marketing, vice president of systems software, senior vice president of sales and support and president. In 2000, he stepped into Bill Gates’s role as CEO.
Microsoft went public in 1986, making Ballmer a multimillionaire in his 20s. Ballmer also holds the position as the second person ever to become a billionaire, thanks to stock options he had as a perk of being a Microsoft employee.
In 2008 Ballmer helped pay for renovations to KeyArena in an effort to keep the Seattle SuperSonics in Seattle. The basketball team later moved to Oklahoma City to become the Thunder. Ballmer’s latest basketball related ambitions include trying to buy the Sacremento Kings and move them to Seattle.
While in his position as CEO at Microsoft, Steve Ballmer often appeared on stage for speeches and videos of those appearances have become viral video. He is known for some fairly controversial statements such as calling free software Linux kernal a “cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.” And at the Web 2.0 Summet in 2011, he said “You don’t need to be a computer scientist to use a Windows Phone and you do to use an Android Phone.”
In the most recent year, Microsoft has faced some harsh criticism for its release of Windows 8, Xbox One and slumping PC sales. However, it’s worth noting that under Ballmer’s tenure as CEO, Microsoft’s annual revenue jumped from $25 billion to $70 billion. Still, upon announcing his planned retirement in the next 12 months, Microsoft shares immediately jumped 8 percent to just below $35 per share.