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Microsoft shares surge on Ballmer retirement news

One analyst calls the news "a large positive for the stock." Wall Street as a whole seems to agree, with the software company's shares jumping as much as 8 percent in early trading.

Steve Ballmer
Steve Ballmer has never lacked for energy or enthusiasm.

Microsoft's shares are up significantly in early trading on Friday following news of CEO Steve Ballmer's impending retirement.

Microsoft's shares were up as much as 8 percent on Friday, landing at more than $35 per share before easing off a bit. As of this writing, Microsoft's shares are up more than 7 percent to $34.86.

The bump in share price was an immediate aftershock to Microsoft's announcement this morning that Ballmer will retire from his post within the next 12 months. Ballmer will stay on at the company until the board of directors appoints someone to replace him. A special committee has already been formed to find his replacement.

That Microsoft's shares jumped on word of Ballmer's impending ouster speaks volumes about Wall Street's view of the company's CEO. During his tenure, Ballmer has helped Microsoft grow its Windows installed base, but has also presided over the mistake that was Windows Vista, the company's poor standing in mobile, and the much-maligned Windows 8.

In a statement on the matter, RBC analyst Matthew Hedberg said that he expects investors "to view the development as a large positive for the stock," adding that Ballmer's ouster could mean "that more changes to the business could be forthcoming than what was recently communicated to investors."

In other words, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

We will continue to update this story throughout the day as Microsoft's shares continue to trade.