Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer plans to retire within the next 12 months to end a 14-year reign, amid speculation that Bill Gates could be the person to succeed him.
According to Fox News, shares reacted positively to the news, leaping 7.5 percent to 34.80 dollars on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
Ballmer will stay in his post while the software titan searches for a successor and the company's board has formed a special committee to begin the search process, which also includes Chairman Bill Gates, the report said.
Microsoft announced that both external and internal candidates would be considered and Bill Gates is sure to have support among investors, the report added.
Meanwhile, Ballmer said in a statement that there was never a perfect time for this type of transition but he thought now was the right time, adding that a CEO for the new direction the company was taking was required for a longer term.
Early last month, Microsoft made several executive changes and a sweeping reorganization that organizes the company around eight functions, the report further said.