Steve Ballmer’s Tearful, ‘Dirty Dancing’ Goodbye to Microsoft

Saturday, September 28, 2013 8:41 PM GMT

It’s hardly breaking news anymore that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will be officially exiting his role as Microsoft’s top dog — and proselytizer — in roughly 12 months or so, give or take however long Microsoft’s board spends on the incoming CEO search.

And while we can certainly spend plenty of time speculating the big secret — who might replace Ballmer — the other slight mystery as of late is how Ballmer handled one of his latest “official” goodbyes of-sorts. We’re referring to his appearance at the recent Microsoft employee meeting: his last, big romp in front of the assembled Microsoft masses as the company’s CEO.

Ballmer, known for his love of the flair (and dancing), didn’t disappoint. Videos posted to YouTube of the final bits of Ballmer’s hour-long speech show his triumphant exit, accompanied to the tune of “I Had the Time of My Life” from Dirty Dancing.

“My last song is one I’ve always wanted to use, but it was always deemed inappropriate – it’s a great song,” Ballmer exclaimed. “And I wanted to pick a song that was exactly perfect. A song that let me say thank you, a song that looked back retrospectively, and a song that celebrated the future. From one of my favorite movies, one of my favorite songs, and I think it has all that in it.”

The outgoing CEO – in both senses of the word – then spent the next good chunk of time clapping around the stage, hugging and high-fiving Microsoft employees, and trying to keep composure in an obviously emotional moment for a man who, previously, had been yelling at attendees to “soak it in” and describing Microsoft, quite simply, as “the greatest company in the world.”

“This isn’t about any one person, it is about the company, it is about a company that is important, that’s forward thinking, that’s innovative, that’s ethical, that hires great people and lets them lead great lives, that helps people around the world realize their potential,” Ballmer said.

“Microsoft’s like a fourth child to me. Children do leave the house. In this case, I guess I’m leaving the house,” he added.

As for who might be coming into the house following Ballmer’s official exit, speculation has been turned to former Nokia CEO (and now Microsoft executive vice president) as a likely top candidate. However, Ford CEO Alan Mulally has recently had his name jump onto the list of potential contenders, as it’s alleged that some of Microsoft’s “top 20” investors are backing Mulally as a result of the “turnaround expertise” he’s showcased while leading the American car manufacturer.

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