Interview Confirms Ballmer Wasn’t Fired, But His Exit Was Accelerated

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was not forced out of his role at the company, but its board did hasten his exit, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, whose sources include Ballmer himself, as well as a number of his lieutenants.

Ballmer’s exit was not a firing over the painful reported a $900 million charge related to the Surface tablet line that was recorded earlier this year. That’s a polite way of saying that Microsoft grossly overestimated demand for its new devices and lost a bundle in the process.

The Journal reports that in January, Ballmer’s plan to rebuild Microsoft was put under pressure by the company’s board. They wanted faster motion. The CEO is quoted as saying that he had not wanted to shake up the company until after Windows 8 shipped. That jives with the stated timeline: Windows 8 shipped in Q4 2012; in Q1 2013, the board turned up the heat.