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Steve Ballmer’s Tenure As Microsoft CEO In Numbers

Ballmer announced Friday that he would retire from Microsoft in the next 12 months. Here’s a by-the-numbers look at his decade-plus run as the software giant’s leader.

Robert Galbraith / Reuters

After running Microsoft for more than a decade, CEO Steve Ballmer said Friday he would retire in the next 12 months once his successor is found.

The announcement essentially brings to an end an extended period of investor frustration with Microsoft. While Ballmer methodically and slowly grew the company into a behemoth, shareholders have been looking at the quick and massive growth of major competitors Google and Apple during the same period and are left to wonder what might have been.

Throughout Ballmer’s tenure, Microsoft stock has basically flatlined — that is, until today’s retirement announcement, which sent shares up nearly 8% in trading.

The two biggest questions now are who will take over for Ballmer and can that person keep it from going through another “what might have been” period. With that in mind, here are a few highlights and lowlights from Ballmer’s tenure, by the numbers.

**Editor’s note: Microsoft doesn’t break out Windows sales figures, only licenses, so its most important product is note quantified here.**

Under Ballmer, the Xbox was one of the company’s biggest bets. Microsoft sold around 24 million Xbox units during his run.

Mario Tama / Getty Images

Microsoft thus far has sold 78.2 million Xbox 360 consoles.

David Becker / Getty Images

And at last report, Xbox Live — the company’s online Xbox subscription service — had more than 46 million members.

Ina Fassbender / Reuters

Ballmer oversaw the acquisition of Skype, which at last recording had more than 300 million monthly connected users…

David Loh / Reuters

…which would be great, but the entertainment and devices division’s operating income (and margins) are tiny compared with its business and Windows operations.

In 2012, the entertainment and devices unit brought in $9.6 billion in revenue, but only recorded $364 million in operating income. In 2011, it was $1.3 billion in operating income off $8.9 billion in revenue.

By comparison, in 2012, Windows brought in $11.5 billion in operating income off $18.4 billion in revenue, and in 2011 it brought in $12.2 billion in operating income off $19 billion in revenue. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Ballmer oversaw the creation of its Bing search engine, which by the time he retired had a 17.9% search share.

Jeff Chiu / AP

Then again, Microsoft has lost billions in its online services division since 2005.

The company lost around $1.9 billion, $2.7 billion, and $2.4 billion in 2012, 2011, and 2010, respectively. (2012 included a large goodwill impairment charge, so we’re excluding that number.) That loss narrowed to $1.3 billion in Microsoft’s 2013 fiscal year. Jeff Chiu / AP

Microsoft’s Servers & Tools business has grown at a healthy clip, and its business services have also performed well.

Still, Microsoft is constantly facing the risk of cannibalizing its other divisions unintentionally as it looks at other ways to expand its business services like Office — which, for example, could hurt the Windows business if it found its way onto the iPad.

Needless to say, as a company providing enterprise tools and services to larger companies, Microsoft performed well. Nir Elias / Reuters

So far, Windows has sold around 100 million licenses for Windows 8, its next-generation Windows product.

However, before that, Microsoft had sold more than 400 million licenses of Windows 7. And even before that, pretty much every PC in the world was (and many still are) running Windows XP. Now Windows faces an uncertain future as the PC industry continues to increasingly decline. China Daily China Daily Information Corp - Cdic / Reuters

In the 2000 fiscal year when Bill Gates handed the company over to Ballmer, Microsoft had brought in revenue of around $23 billion.

Anthony Harvey / Getty Images

Microsoft had also posted net income of around $9.4 billion.

Mario Tama / Getty Images

Fast-forward to FY13, and Microsoft has about tripled revenue, bringing in about $77.9 billion.

Jeff Chiu, File / AP

Microsoft has also nearly tripled its net income to $21.9 billion.

Bloomberg / Getty Images

However, this is basically tiny compared to its competitors like Apple.

For fiscal year 2012, Apple brought in $156.5 billion in revenue, up from about $8 billion in its 2000 fiscal year. Its net income in 2000 was $786 million, compared with $41.7 billion in 2012. Robert Galbraith / Reuters

So while Microsoft’s stock price has stayed about steady in the time since Ballmer took over…

…the rise of Apple has been quite a bit more rewarding for investors.

And it also explains the major spike in share price for Microsoft today, after the company announced Ballmer would retire.

But that actually works out for Ballmer personally. With the stock up more than $2 today, Ballmer’s stake in the company is worth about an extra $800 million.

Not a bad golden parachute, relatively speaking. Robert Galbraith / Reuters

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