Ballmer out: Reaction from the Twitter trenches

The Twittersphere reacted with mixed emotion: some loved Ballmer, some hated him, but pretty much everyone agreed that he had to go at some point.

Image: Microsoft

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 .

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?

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.

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.

Serial entrepreneur Marco Armant put Ballmer's retirement on a par with former Apple executive Scott Forstall's firing. 

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.

The Financial Times' Tim Bradshaw got a little nostalgic, calling him "Ballmer to the end," highlighting the Microsoft boss' passion for the company.

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. 

Also looking ahead, former Microsoft employee Robert Scoble chimed in, hinting that Ballmer was perhaps stuck in the past.

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.

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.

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.)

And one last word from ZDNet's Ed Bott, which I'm including simply because it made me laugh. That's all.