/// Ballmer Departure From Microsoft Was More Sudden Than Portrayed By the Company
According to sources close to the situation, the departure of CEO Steve Ballmer from Microsoft last week was more sudden than was depicted by the company in its announcement that he would be retiring within the next year in a planned smooth transition. It was neither planned nor as smooth as portrayed. While the decision to go seems to have technically been Ballmer’s, interviews with dozens of people inside and outside the company, including many close to the situation, indicate that he had not aimed to leave this soon and especially after the recent restructuring of the company 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.” That sentence spurred much chatter inside the company, including the persistent rumor that Gates had dropped the bomb on Ballmer.