Microsoft CEO leaves the stage to the tune of Michael Jackson's 'Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'

Ballmer holds back tears at final Microsoft employee meeting, mentions rivals

Steve Ballmer bid Microsoft farewell at his last employee meeting, where he "choked up" while delivering his final speech to staff.

Thousands of employees turned up, while around 25,000 more tuned in via webcast to watch Microsoft’s CEO, reports Reuters

Ballmer reused some quotes from his first 1983 meeting and said: "We have unbelievable potential in front of us, we have an unbelievable destiny. Only our company and a handful of others are poised to write the future. We’re going to think big, we’re going to bet big."

He also talked about his decision to drop out of Stanford business school to join Microsoft in 1980, talked about moving Microsoft from software to devices and services, and took a swipe at rivals.

Ballmer said that Apple is all about being "fashionable," is about being "cheap," Google is about "knowing more," but Microsoft is about "doing more".

"I believe in you, I believe in the mission," he told employees. "We’ve been a great company for years. We will be a great company for many more years."

Ballmer left the stage to the tune of Michael Jackson’s "Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’," which was played at Microsoft’s first employee meeting in 1983, followed by "(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life". He received a standing ovation from the Microsoft employees.

Ballmer announced his plans to retire last month.

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