Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer plans to retire some time in the next 12 months, said the company. Microsoft's board has formed a special committee to begin a search for a successor to Ballmer, who has led the company since January 2000. Once a successor is chosen, Ballmer will step down. "There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time," said Ballmer. "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." Microsoft's business has changed radically during Ballmer's tenure, as computing has moved away from traditional desktop and laptops to more mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones.