Microsoft fans, reporters, pundits and critics are out in force debating the announced departure of chief executive Steve Ballmer, who on Friday said he would retire within the year.
- Also read: Microsoft CEO Ballmer to retire within year | Here's Microsoft CEO Ballmer's goodbye note to the troops | Microsoft's next CEO: Who's on the short list? CNET: Microsoft shares rise early amid Ballmer retirement news | CBS News: Microsoft says CEO Ballmer to retire in 12 months
We immediately headed to Twitter as the source of quick-hit initial reaction from high profile industry folk, entrepreneurs, Microsoft watchers, and even competitors, to see what the overall impression was.
Mixed at best, it's fair to say. We start with The Verge's Nilay Patel, who was one of the first to ask, simply, whether or not Ballmer's announcement was his to even make. Did he decide to leave, or was he kindly nudged in that direction?
The only real question is whether Ballmer chose to retire or was asked to retire.— nilay patel (@reckless) August 23, 2013
With talk over "what's next" at the company, as it continues its strategy moving away from strictly software to devices and cloud services, ZDNet's Simon Bisson suggested that a sudden change is unlikely.
One thing to note: the Microsoft transition to devices and services won't happen over night. Ballmer's retirement implies a decade of change— Simon Bisson (@sbisson) August 23, 2013
Others looked on the bright side of today's news. BGR's Zach Epstein noted Microsoft's stock price, which rocketed by more 8 percent in pre-market trading.
By announcing his own retirement, Ballmer just drove the value of his 300M $MSFT shares by ~$1B.— Zach Epstein (@zacharye) August 23, 2013
Serial entrepreneur Marco Armant put Ballmer's retirement on a par with former Apple executive Scott Forstall's firing.
Can’t wait to see what Ballmer and Forstall are secretly working on together.— Marco Arment (@marcoarment) August 23, 2013
But some were far more optimistic. New York City-based entrepreneur Anil Dash looked back at Ballmer's time in "office" and what he accomplished.
What Steve Ballmer achieved at Microsoft is actually amazing. It's underrated simply because consumer tech casts an irrationally big shadow.— Anil Dash (@anildash) August 23, 2013
The Financial Times' Tim Bradshaw got a little nostalgic, calling him "Ballmer to the end," highlighting the Microsoft boss' passion for the company.
Ballmer is Ballmer to the end: "I love this company," he says in email to staff http://t.co/c0CZrNBVPm— Tim Bradshaw (@tim) August 23, 2013
Though, many dug in the nails while they had the chance. Security and privacy expert Nic Cubrilovic called the move "long overdue," hinting that the software giant may have a strong future if it's succession plan is handled correctly.
About time, long overdue. Time to take Microsoft back from the MBA's— nik cubrilovic (@nikcub) August 23, 2013
Also looking ahead, former Microsoft employee Robert Scoble chimed in, hinting that Ballmer was perhaps stuck in the past.
Microsoft please get a CEO that loves the future. David Sacks was suggested by Shervin. Absolutely agree.— Robert Scoble (@Scobleizer) August 23, 2013
While "Fake Steve Jobs" author Dan Lyons followed a similar path of thinking, saying he predicted this outing four years ago, hinting that the company wanted rid of Ballmer long ago.
In 2009 I predicted MSFT's board wd oust Ballmer in 2010. I think board has been itchy for years to shake him. http://t.co/IqTl1U0oY7— Dan Lyons (@realdanlyons) August 23, 2013
Some stirred the shake-up and split-up pot of rumors. Entrepreneur and startup investor Mitch Kapor considered whether Microsoft's many billion-dollar businesses should be split up or sold on.
With Ballmer retiring, speculation will be whether MSFT worth more broken up and sold in parts.— Mitch Kapor (@mkapor) August 23, 2013
And Zynga co-founder Mark Pincus suggested the software company should embrace change now Ballmer has a path paved towards the door. (Although, Microsoft still generates billions of dollars from Android per year in royalties.)
Wow. Big news. Msft should go android now. http://t.co/FCgzzYw4HH— mark pincus (@markpinc) August 23, 2013
And one last word from ZDNet's Ed Bott, which I'm including simply because it made me laugh. That's all.
Mainstream support for Steve Ballmer ended in 2009. Extended support ends in 2014.— Ed Bott (@edbott) August 23, 2013