Steve Ballmer announced his retirement, so we're throwing him a GIF retirement party!

Steve Ballmer announced his retirement, so we're throwing him a GIF retirement party!

Steve Ballmer, long-time Microsoft employee and successor to Bill Gates as CEO, announced his retirement on Friday. While Ballmer's legacy at Microsoft will be analyzed and debated for years to come, his legacy as a GIF superstar is unquestionable: The man is single-handedly responsible for some of the best technology GIFs of the past decade.

In honor of Ballmer's years of service supplying us with GIF-worthy moments, we're throwing Steve a retirement party, featuring some of our favorite animated moments from the CEO's tenure. Enjoy, and thank you, Steve, for the ebullient, enthusiastic, sweaty and active memories.


Steve Ballmer, who announced his retirement as Microsoft CEO on Friday, has served in the position for thirteen years. Let's give him a round of applause!

Get up out of your seats and dance for him!

Ballmer took over from Microsoft co-founder and CEO Bill Gates in 2000. Look at them go!

He quickly became known for his fiery persona. This is what his press conferences and events are actually like.

Perhaps most notable was this classic moment, when he tried to enlist developers to build apps and programs for Windows by shouting "DEVELOPERS" over and over again.

Reuters notes that Ballmer's reign at Microsoft has been filled with controversy and criticism from investors, especially over his slowness to adapt to the mobile evolution: "The PC-centric pioneer was overtaken by Apple Inc and Google Inc in the shift toward mobile computing" during Ballmer's years, is how the news service sums up his years at the helm.

Toward the end of Ballmer's tenure, Microsoft introduced Windows Phone and Windows 8, two similar, touch-based operating systems designed and optimized to work on smartphones and tablets. Though there are dozens of devices running Windows Phone and Windows 8, none has really caught on in a significant way, despite critical acclaim for the design of the "Metro" interface.

It's not all doom and gloom for Microsoft. It still rakes in gobs of money for its services, and the Xbox, launched under Ballmer, is still incredible popular. The Xbox 360 has been the number one gaming console for over two years now; the Kinect motion-sensing device is the fastest-selling consumer device of all time, as verified by the Guinness Book of World Records. That's a reason to party!

Despite these successes, most analysts view Microsoft as a substantially weaker company than it was when Ballmer took power. That's not all his fault: First, it would have been difficult for any CEO to maintain Microsoft's 1990s-era level of dominance over a decade; and second, no matter how quickly a different CEO had acted on the mobile revolution, it's not clear that Microsoft would have been able to produce something quick enough or meaningful enough to combat Android and iOS. Every iteration of Windows Phone thus far has tanked, a fact that cannot wholly be blamed on its lateness.

The more you debate Ballmer's performance, the more you drown in hypotheticals -- what's clear is, Microsoft is in a substantially weaker position now than it was at the start of Ballmer's tenure. His successor will have serious work to do to return it to its glory days.

One more GIF for Steve!

BONUS: Here are some more Steve Ballmer GIFs, along with some smart analysis surrounding his departure.

First, Mary Jo Foley, the longtime Microsoft reporter, scores her first interview with Ballmer in 20 years. Of note, he says that his biggest regret was Windows Vista.

Tom Warren, another dogged Microsoft journalist, has the scoop on latest candidates for Ballmer's successor. The most provocative? Reed Hastings, founder and CEO of Netflix.

At the deeply-sourced AllThingsD tech site, Ina Fried writes that Ballmer's departure was inevitable.