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Steve Ballmer Resigns From Microsoft Board, Saying He'll Be Busy As New Clippers Owner

Jae C. Hong
AP Photo
FILE - In this Aug. 18, 2014 file photo, new Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer speaks during a news conference held after the Clippers Fan Festival in Los Angeles.

Former Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer is leaving the board of the software company he led for 14 years.

In a letter released on Microsoft's website, Ballmer said he has confidence in new CEO Satya Nadella, and he has no plans to sell his shares in the "foreseeable future." Ballmer said he holds more shares than anyone other than index funds. 

Last week, Ballmer fulfilled his dream to own a professional basketball team by completing his purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion. The team was put up for sale by the NBA after a controversy involving a recording of former owner, Donald Sterling, making racist comments. 

"In the six months since leaving, I have become very busy," Ballmer wrote in his email to Nadella. "I see a combination of the Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking a lot of time."

Nadella thanked Ballmer for his support during the leadership transition and for the past 34 years. 

"As you embark on your new journey, I am sure that you will bring the same boldness, passion and impact to your new endeavors that you brought to Microsoft, and we wish you incredible success," Nadella wrote. "I also look forward to partnering with you as a shareholder."

No surprise?

Morningstar analyst Norman Young says he wasn't surprised by Ballmer's announcement that he'd leave the board. Young says it was a natural next step after Ballmer resigned as CEO. 

"He didn't really have a place in the company anymore after what happened," Young said. 

Ballmer made clear in his resignation statement last year that he had hoped to stay at the helm longer to help Microsoft become a devices and services business. But the stock had languished during his time as CEO, and Microsoft lost out to Apple on some key technological shifts. 

"He definitely I think was disappointed that it ended in such a manner, and so abruptly as well," Young said. "I mean, this is the one place where he's worked his entire adult life."

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.