Was Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer forced into retirement?

That's what a report by Computerworld states. The report cites Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, who spoke after Ballmer's retirement was suddenly announced last week. Here's what Moorhead had to say regarding the situation:

"He was definitely pushed out by the board. They either drove him out or put him in a situation where he felt he had to leave to save face." Moorhead argues that the failure of Microsoft's Surface RT tablet, which cost the company a whopping $900 million, spurred the board into action to remove Ballmer as CEO.

Moorhead also states that the biggest indicator that Ballmer was forced out is the one-year timetable for his departure, which he revealed when he announced his retirement.

"Typically, a board will be working behind the scenes for a replacement, but they've given themselves 12 months," Moorhead said. "I think this went down very quickly."

We wouldn't be surprised if that were the case. However, we think that Microsoft's multiple failures under Steve Ballmer during his tenure as CEO, including Windows Vista, the Zune MP3 player and Windows 8 as well as the Surface RT, all played a part in his departure, if he didn't leave on his own terms.

What do you think? Was Steve Ballmer forced into retirement by Microsoft's board or did he leave on his own terms? Sound off in the comments below.