BELLEVUE, Wash. (AP) -- Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates choked up while reading from prepared remarks during Steve Ballmer's final shareholders meeting as chief executive.

The co-founder of the software giant said progress was being made to find Ballmer's replacement and he thanked him for serving as CEO for the last 13 years. Only Gates and Ballmer have led Microsoft Corp. since its founding 38 years ago.

Gates grew emotional while saying that both he and Ballmer are committed to making sure "that the next CEO is the right person for the right time for the company we both love."

Ballmer, who said in August that he would step down within 12 months, was mostly light-hearted at what he called a "unique and fun meeting."

One shareholder suggested a U.S. government cabinet post as an information technology secretary be created for Ballmer. The outgoing CEO replied that he didn't think the job would make sense, adding "but thank you for trying to help me find work."

The company, based in Redmond, Wash., said Tuesday that all of its proposals were approved. Board nominees, including Ballmer and Gates, were re-elected with each nominee backed by more than 90% of the votes cast.

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