Steve Ballmer at his last employee meeting

The end of an era.

No, he’s not technically leaving just yet. But Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said goodbye to the company he loves — one he joined when it was just a startup and he was a young man — in a tearful speech at the company’s annual employee meeting this week in Seattle.

The Verge obtained video of the emotionally-charged speech — which is pure Ballmer. Yes, there are plenty of tears, and a few high-fives with the crowd and even a bit of singing to the theme song from “Dirty Dancing.” 

But, in true Ballmer style, it is 100 percent raw passion.

“I just want to enjoy this for a minute,” says Ballmer as a giant “Thank you!” message appears on the big screen of Key Arena. “Soak it in. All of you. Soak it in. You work for the greatest company in the world. Soak it in.”

The Microsoft employees go nuts, with a few yelling out “We love you.” Ballmer responds by saying that “this isn’t about any one person, it is about the company.”

Watch the video below, and let us know what you think about Ballmer’s legacy.

RelatedThe spirit of Steve Ballmer is irreplaceable at Microsoft 

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


  • Harkonnen

    Given his performance as CEO (which could be charitably described as “uneven”), this is kind of creepy. I admire his passion but with passion came hubris and he missed the boat on opportunities to lead in the industry as well as make deep and positive changes within the organization. Still he gets a boatload of cash and hopefully his next endeavors will be successful.

  • bluepearl

    he was the best thing for the company. unmatched passion and logical sense.

  • panacheart

    I always admired his passion and work ethic. He could have left a few billion dollars ago. He’s not been there for the money for a long time, and he still shows up at 8 AM every day. You have to admire that.

  • klondiko


  • NKS

    The size of the company MS is and the number of businesses the company ‘s competes I see very few of contemaprory CEO could have managed better tham him. His integrity, passion and perseverence are best in the industry.

  • bob

    is that a tattoo on the back of his hand?

  • Guest

    Thanks, Steve.

  • Steve Jobs liked Lez Zepplin

    This performance is exactly why you never ever want to work for Microsoft.

  • H_Burns

    Weird, uncomfortable and embarrassing. The cheers and whistles from the crowd strike me as mindless, like the love North Koreans lavish on their great, dear leader.

Job Listings on GeekWork