Sources suggest the timeline for Ballmer's exit "had been moved up drastically — first by him and then the nine-member board, including ... Bill Gates — after all agreed that it was best if he left sooner than later"
Remarks in Ballmer's departure memo about originally wanting to leave in the middle of Microsoft's "transformation to a devices and services company" had already spurred internal chatter about a forced exit, as did the fact Ballmer never thanked Gates.
One source: "Did Gates instigate it? No ... But was he as supportive of Ballmer as he had been in the past? Maybe not."
This is the second time in a year Swisher has reported Gates backed the departure of a senior Microsoft exec. Last November, she reported Gates (and Ballmer) supported removing long-time Windows chief Steven Sinofsky.