UPDATE: Ballmer Named MS CEO, Gates Takes New Role

Microsoft Corp.'s Bill Gates today announced that he is handing over the chief executive officer reins to Steve Ballmer, retaining his role as company chairman and taking on a newly created position of chief software architect.

Ballmer will retain his current title of Microsoft president, becoming company CEO and taking over company management.

"Microsoft was founded 25 years ago, and I've had the same job as CEO during that entire 25 year period," Gates said, on a teleconference call today with reporters and analysts. "There's more opportunity for software than there has ever been ... in a sense you can say that you haven't seen anything yet."

As Microsoft's chief software architect, Gates said, he can dedicate more time to helping further develop new versions of the Windows operating system and related services for the Internet.

"With Bill as chairman and chief software architect of our company and the incredible leadership we have in place here along with the thousands of incredible people in our company, I think we have an opportunity to repeat in the 21st century the kind of progress we helped make on behalf of our customers in the last century," Ballmer said.

(More details to follow.)

Based in Redmond, Washington, Microsoft can be reached at +1-425-882-8080, or at http://www.microsoft.com/.

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