Microsoft's Ballmer Gives Tearful Farewell In Last Company Meeting

In his last company-wide meeting before he officially retires, Ballmer took the stage to give an emotional goodbye to the company he's worked for since 1980. Ballmer was showered with applause from thousands of Microsoft employees, whom he thanked for their years of service and support as part of "the greatest company in the world."

"This isn't about any one person. This about this company," Ballmer said. "It's about a company that's important, that's forward-thinking, that's innovative, that's ethical, that hires great people and lets them lead great lives, that helps people around the world realize their full potential."

[Related: Ballmer's Legacy: 10 Highlights And Lowlights For Microsoft's CEO ]

Ballmer got tearful as he prepared to leave the stage for the last time. "This is my whole professional world. Microsoft is like a fourth child to me," he said.

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With that, Microsoft's CEO exited to the song "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" from the movie "Dirty Dancing." He shook hands and high-fived with many employees as he fight-pumped and shouted his way to the exit.

Last month Ballmer announced he planned to retire from Microsoft within the next 12 months. During his time at Microsoft, Ballmer was known for his enthusiasm and unabashed love of the company, earning a reputation for making loud and energetic public appearances.

At one company event during his first year as CEO in 2000, Ballmer came on stage jumping and yelling to the song "Get On Your Feet" by Gloria Estefan. The video of his memorable introduction was later published online and quickly went viral.

Jeff Lauria, director of technology at iCorps, a Boston-based Microsoft Certified Gold Partner, said that despite some missteps during his tenure, Ballmer brought a lot to the table in terms of his energy and enthusiasm.

"He has a street fighter mentality. He loves the company and he was unwilling to back down for anyone, even the Department of Justice," Lauria said. "Ballmer was always full of energy and he was passionate about the company, and I think that passion served Microsoft well over the last 12 to 13 years."