Steve Ballmer bids final farewell to stockholders

As exiting CEO of Microsoft Steve Ballmer steps down from his post as most electrifying man to present a product onstage, he also sends out a more solemn letter to the shareholders of the company. Here in the final 2013 Fiscal Year annual report, Ballmer makes the case for the change of Microsoft to a devices and services company as a wholly positive one. He suggests that a growth of revenue this year to $77.8 billion and a return of $12.3 billion to shareholders (up 6 and 15% respectively from the year before) means that Microsoft is fully on-track for the 2014 Fiscal season.

Ballmer placed specific emphasis on the likes of PCs, tablets, phones (with Windows Phone), and the Xbox. Suggesting the Microsoft team is on the fast road to Windows 8.1 PCs, Ballmer said that he is entirely "optimistic about what Microsoft will deliver." In enterprise services like Windows Azure, Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics, and Windows Server as much as Surface 2, Xbox One, and "new phones" down the line.

"Moving forward

With the decisions we've made this year, the strategy we've put in place, the organization we've designed, the world-class talent we have, and the devices and services we are creating, we are well-positioned to deliver growth and world-changing technology long into the future.

We have seen incredible results in the past decade — delivering more than $200 billion in operating profit. I'm optimistic not only as the CEO but as an investor who treasures his Microsoft stock.

Working at Microsoft has been a thrilling experience — we've changed the world and delivered record-setting success — and I know our best days are still ahead.

Thank you for your support." – Steve Ballmer

He also made a point to remind shareholders that in September, Microsoft announced that they'd be purchasing Nokia's Devices and Services business. Getting specific here for the shareholders here once again, Ballmer noted that this purchase included Nokia's "smartphone and mobile phone businesses; award-winning engineering and design teams; manufacturing and assembly facilities around the world; and teams devoted to operations, sales, marketing and support."

In other words – acceleration in Windows Phone is the goal here. Microsoft will be utilizing Nokia's already-solidified business to bring on a much more hearty "overall device ecosystem" for the company. The full letter can be found at Microsoft, while the timeline below should lead you back into the recent past for Ballmer and his relationship with Microsoft in practice.