AllThingsD heard rumors that Steve Ballmer's retirement from Microsoft is more sudden than it is depicted. The reporter writes that the departure was neither planned nor as smooth as portrayed, and claims dozens of people inside and outside Microsoft claim that Ballmer had not aimed to leave this soon and especially after the recent restructuring that he had intensely planned.
Instead, sources said Ballmer’s timeline had been moved up drastically — first by him and then the nine-member board, including his longtime partner and Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates — after all agreed that it was best if he left sooner than later.
That was due to a number of increasingly problematic issues on the immediate horizon — including a potentially nasty proxy fight, continued business performance declines and, perhaps most of all, that Ballmer’s leadership was becoming a very obvious lightning rod.
Interestingly, Ballmer actually indicated that he had planned on staying in his letter about his impending departure, noting: “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.”