Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who succeeded founder Bill Gates as CEO, will retire within the next 12 months.

The world’s biggest software company did not name a successor.

Microsoft Corp.’s stock shot up 9 percent in premarket trading following the news.

It’s telling that Microsoft made this pre-announcement with no replacement CEO on deck.  Microsoft is still wildly profitable thanks to Windows, Office, and Xbox, but they have gained very little traction in the growth market of mobile with the disastrous reception of Windows Phone and the Surface tablet.  They need someone with strong experience and success in devices and services, and the CEO who oversaw the Zune, the Kin, and Windows Phone is not that guy.

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