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Did Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer jump or was he pushed? The reality may be a little of both, as tech pundits speculate on what really went down in the days leading up to last Friday's announcement.
AllThingsD reported Sunday that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's departure plans may have been a bit more sudden than it seemed, with sources close to the company saying the departure "was neither planned nor as smooth as portrayed."
After interviewing "dozens of people inside and outside the company" since the bombshell announcement Friday, AllThingsD's Kara Swisher came to the conclusion that Ballmer "had not aimed to leave this soon," particularly after initiating sweeping changes to the company that are still ongoing.
"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," the report elaborated.
Among those who apparently wanted Ballmer out the door sooner rather than later was former director and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who was among the first to "urge that the company replace Ballmer as CEO" after watching Microsoft's stock value decline under his leadership.
According to one source, Gates -- historically a Ballmer cheerleader -- didn't call for the CEO's departure, but apparently didn't come to his successor's defense when the conversation turned to his exit this time around.
The report notes that Ballmer inherited a Microsoft with a market cap of $600 billion, a figure that has fallen to only $270 billion as of last Thursday -- which pretty much says everything you need to know about why Ballmer is riding off into the sunset.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter