(Redmond, WA)  --  Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is reportedly set to retire.  The company says he will step down from his post within the next year.  Shares jumped nearly three-dollars before the opening bell on Wall Street on the news.  Ballmer first joined the company in 1980 as Microsoft's 30th employee.  He was named CEO in 2000, but officially took over all day to day operations when Bill Gates turned over the reins in 2009.  Ballmer says there is never a perfect time for a transition of this magnitude, but now is the right time.