Ballmer can be vindictive. Turn him down once and you might never get another shot. It would not be out of character for him to get his panties in a bunch if Elop said his offer was insufficient. What keeps him from going all Road Warrior on Nokia is the fact that Microsoft NEEDS Nokia healthy for WP to succeed. Right now Nokia is not just the biggest player in the WP game, they are the ENTIRE game.
Ballmer is doing nothing more than carrying the MSFT BOD offer to Nokia. He has financial restrictions that he has to operate within. It appears they just want the smartphone division and its associated patents. That doesn't leave a lot of residual value so Nokia has set the bar quite high. I told you last year that MSFT would make a run at Nokia this year. That has now become reality.
If the account of the talks is accurate, it is not surprising - a MS/NOK purchase was never going to be easy - there are a lot of moving parts - W8 evolution, new Nokia phones, HERE evolution, NSN profits, patent litigation, actions of competitors, developments in tech, etc etc.
Too many variables to cover in a set of "talks". I think both sides need to digest what was discussed, take a look around at the situation, and decide how they can make it work in the best long term interests of both groups of stakeholders.
I think the first round is to discuss if they want this to happen, and I think both companies now realize they want this to happen. After they realize they want this to happen, the details will stop being regarded as obstacles, and start being viewed as means to an end.
Facts can be discussed and analyzed quickly and easily if you have smart, motivated people in the room. Attitudes take longer to change, and it may take both companies some time before their underlying attitudes shift and catch-up to the facts before them.