In a surprise announcement, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced that he is retiring in 2014.  His press release had this to say:

"There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time ... We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing Senior Leadership Team. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our company’s transformation to a devices and services company. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction."

This is an opportunity for Microsoft.  With much fanfare in the last year and a half they have released the Windows phone, a new operating system, Windows 8 and introduced the Surface tablet, with a detachable keyboard.  Unfortunately for them, none of these products has taken off.  The Windows phone isn't better than the iPhone or Android models; the Surface doesn't have near the number of apps that iOS or Android has, and Windows 8?  Still not on par with iOS.

Although they have made structural changes at Microsoft aimed at creating a Microsoft computing universe, (cloud, Office, Surface, etc.)they are a far cry from the technological leader they used to be. It is certain that they are looking at the backs of Google and Apple.

Yes, this is an opportunity for Microsoft.  But will they seize it?

Thank you to BusinessInsider.com for the background for this article.