Steve Ballmer has made more than $1.7 billion since firing himself
Whisper it quietly. Microsoft shares have quietly leapt to their highest levels in more than 13 years. There are probably a few factors driving the stock higher: better than expected fourth quarter results, a dividend hike and $40 billion share buyback program, and continued strength in the company’s enterprise business, among them. But the real reason appears to be Steve Ballmer’s imminent departure, and chatter that Ford CEO Alan Mulally is firming up as the favorite to succeed him.