Twitterers have their say on Steve Ballmer, Microsoft ... and Batman?

Twitterers have their say on Steve Ballmer, Microsoft ... and Batman?

Social network lights up as reports on retirement plans of Microsoft CEO Ballmer blanket the Internet

As reports on Steve Ballmer's plan to retire from his Microsoft CEO post raced across the Internet this morning, Twitter lit up with tweets poking some fun and hand wringing about the fate of Microsoft.

Microsoft Friday disclosed Ballmer's plan to retire from the company at some point in the next 12 months. Ballmer joined Microsoft in 1980 and has been CEO since 2000.

The announcement comes just weeks after Ballmer unveiled a "far-reaching realignment" of the company to hasten its move to become a devices and services business.

"We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction," Ballmer wrote in an email to employees today.

The surprise announcement brought a burst of activity to Twitter -- Steve Ballmer and related hashtags have been trending high for hours. Many of the tweets gave Ballmer a verbal punch before he heads out the door.

"Was Ballmer the Vista of CEO's?" asked @jeffsussna. "Why is he leaving now? There's still something of the company left yet to ruin," added @linuxuser3. And @zoltandulac tweeted, "Steve Ballmer is actually now doing the best thing he can do for Microsoft - leaving!"

Others noted that the surge in Microsoft's share price following the announcement added some $560 million in value to Ballmer's 333.3 million shares of Microsoft stock as of early this afternoon.

"Looks like Ballmer finally figured out how to make Microsoft stock go up," tweeted @spolsky. Twitterer @ggoodale tweeted, "I can only hope my retirement announcement will be as profitable for me as Steve Ballmer's was."

Another tweet, this one from "Sorta like cheering when the long talker leaves the dinner party. Steve Ballmer will retire; stock rises," @profitandlaws noted.

Others took note that the announcement comes at the same time actor Ben Affleck was cast to play Batman in the Man of Steel sequel. "Why cant Ben Affleck replace Steve Ballmer instead?" tweeted @firasatdurrani.

Some twitterers also lauded Ballmer's work at Microsoft. "And you forget that Steve Ballmer was the sales guy that helped make Windows what it is in the first damn place," tweeted @robertmclaws.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is

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