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Having announced his impending retirement at the conclusion of a 12-month (at the latest) search for a replacement chief, Steve Ballmer finds himself savoring several last moments. The most recent and so far the most emotional of those moments came during what is in all likelihood his last annual meeting with employees. It was essentially a farewell meeting, and it left Ballmer in tears.
Some 13,000 of Microsoft's 100,000 employees were in attendance, and around 25,000 others tuned in via webcast. Outside the Seattle arena where it took place, traffic was brutal. And inside the building, an emotional Ballmer was full of energy, as he always is, entering the stage to "Can't Hold Us" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Reuters reports.
"We have unbelievable potential in front of us, we have an unbelievable destiny," Ballmer said, repeating a quote from MIcrosoft's first employee meeting in 1983. "Only our company and a handful of others are poised to write the future. We're going to think big, we're going to bet big."
He would eventually leave the stage to "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" behind a standing ovation, but not before getting in some final digs at the competition. He declared that Apple is focused on being "fashionable," Amazon tries to be "cheap," Google is all about "knowing more," but Microsoft is about "doing more."
For all the criticism heaped on Ballmer for Microsoft's missteps, we have to admit, we'll miss some of his antics.