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Steve Ballmer leaves Microsoft after 34 years

Former Microsoft (MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer is parting ways with the company after more than three decades with the software maker.

Microsoft said Tuesday that he has stepped down from the its board of directors. Ballmer resigned as chief executive in January.

In a letter to current CEO Satya Nadella made public on Microsoft's website, Ballmer called Microsoft his "life's work." He also expressed confidence in the company's strategic direction and management, while noting that his new life precluded continued service on the board.

Ballmer in May struck a deal to buy the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion.

"I see a combination of the Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking a lot of time." Ballmer wrote.

"While your insights and leadership will be greatly missed as part of the board, I understand and support your decision," Nadella said in a letter replying to Ballmer.

Ballmer, who is worth an estimated $22 billion, isn't completely severing ties with Microsoft, where he worked for 34 years. He remains a large shareholder in the company, which will give him a voice on the company's operations.

Ballmer first met Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates when the two were sophomores at Harvard. Ballmer went on to finish his degree, rather than dropping out of undergraduate school as Gates did. Ballmer then worked for two years at Procter & Gamble (PG).

Ballmer attended Stanford University's business school, but dropped out in 1980 to join Microsoft.

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