In a letter addressed to the Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, former chief executive and current owner of the Los Angeles Clippers Steve Ballmer officially stepped down from the Microsoft board of directors, effective immediately. Citing his new commitments to the NBA and civic contribution, he states that it would be impractical for him to serve on the board, but that the company will climb to higher heights.
"I have become very busy."
Rumors from as early as January stated that Ballmer would eventually step down from the board, even while the company was in the midst of its search for a new CEO. However, the letter characterizes the decision as far more pragmatic — Ballmer states that he hadn't seriously considering his post-Microsoft life until the day before he left the top position. Now, however, he has other responsibilities, saying, "In the six months since leaving, I have become very busy. I see a combination of the Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking a lot of time."
Ballmer hinted at Microsoft's new direction — a mobile-first, cloud-first approach that focuses on productivity — while also stressing that "success requires moving to monetization through enterprise subscriptions, hardware gross margins, and advertising revenues." Those shifts are now fully in the hands of Nadella and his team — though Ballmer will continue to wield some influence as a shareholder, a position he expects to hold for the foreseeable future.