Today's Tech: Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer announces departure, over 1m UK 5 year olds own smartphones and ITPP looks to recruit

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will relinquish his role in the next 12 months to end over ten years in charge of the company. Ballmer wrote an internal email to employees detailing the move that will take place once a successor has been chosen, and is designed to help the company transform itself into a devices and services company. "There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our transformation to a devices and services company focused on empowering customers in the activities they value most. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction," wrote Ballmer in the internal email. Ballmer pitched up at Microsoft back in 1980 and made his way up through the hierarchy of the company to eventually succeed co-founder Bill Gates as CEO in 2000.

Nokia has had its rating cut a further level by Moody's Investors Service after it bought out its partner in the Nokia Siemens Network joint venture and demand for feature phones evaporated. The Finnish phone manufacturer's rating was downgraded by one notch to B1, leaving it four levels below investment level and reflecting Moody's view that the company won't break even on cash flow until well into 2014. The analyst's main gripe is the weaker demand that exists for their devices, which marries up with the fact that the company reported a 27 per cent drop in the number of handsets sold in the second quarter. A revenue drop of 24 per cent was blamed on diminishing demand for the company's usually reliable range of older, more basic handsets. Weaker demand for Nokia devices in emerging markets continues to worry the ratings agency as the company will have to rely more on smartphone sales rather than its mainstay of feature phones.

The German government is reportedly concerned that computers running Windows 8 are not safe to use. German publication Zeit Online claims that a leaked document from the country's Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) raises serious concerns over Microsoft's operating system. Specifically, the BSI suspects that the deployment of Windows 8 alongside the inbuilt Trusted Platform Mobile computer chip can leave devices vulnerable to cyber attacks. This combination, according to the BSI, could lead to "a loss of control" over both the computer's hardware and software. Furthermore, the BSI document alleges that the Windows 8 operating system allows the US National Security Agency (NSA), through Microsoft, to remotely access and seize control of devices. "The new mechanisms in use can also be used for sabotage by third parties," said the BSI. "These risks need to be addressed."

More than a million children in the UK - or one in 10 - have been given their first mobile by the age of just five, a new survey of British families has revealed. The majority of children however, have to wait considerably longer to get a phone bolted to their side as the average age is 11 years and eight months - soon after starting secondary school. On average, parents will spend £246 on a phone for themselves and £125 on a phone for their kids; enough to cover the cost of an entry-level smartphone like the Samsung Galaxy Ace or BlackBerry Curve 9320. 15 per cent of children, however, have mobiles worth more than that of their parents. Perhaps surprisingly, more than four in ten parents said they do not monitor what their children spend on their phone, whilst just a quarter place caps on their kids' contracts. Less than one in twenty disable the data function on their children's phones so they are only able to use them to call and text.

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