We'll never know for sure, but I think we can hazard a few guesses:
1. Veronica was at the height of her "internet fame" when she left CNET. I think that she saw the offer to do Mahalo Daily as a way to strike out on her own and not be one part of a three person show (the Buzz Out Loud Trinity of Tom, Molly, and Veronica - note that Veronica was usually mentioned last despite eventually becoming the most famous of the three). This was a smart and well reasoned move.
2. CNET was left without their biggest female star (at least in the geek world) when Veronica left. Her loss was immediately felt on BOL, CNET TV and the other CNET properties in which she featured. Don't get me wrong, I love Molly Wood, but, for some reason, Molly doesn't attract the rabid fandom of Veronica.
3. I don't know if CNET heavily recruited Natali (or, if Natali saw an opportunity in Veronica's departure), but I think she was the perfect successor to Veronica. Natali has the same good looks as Veronica with the added benefit of more academic (BS in journalism from CSU) and professional (publications in WIRED, Variety Magazine, MarketWatch, TechCrunch, PC Magazine, and many other periodicals) bona fides. Her experience doing Podshow's "TeXtra" (which, in many ways, was cloned to create CNET's "Loaded") showed that she could do very well in front of a camera.
4. Whether it's right or wrong, having an attractive and articulate female technology journalist is a major asset for any media company. I think that if Veronica had stayed with CNET, then she would probably be in the same position as Natali. I don't think CNET needed Veronica AND Natali (although Natali could have worked on the News.com side - but, they already have Kara Tsuboi).
So, I think that the only answer to your question that I can give is that Veronica would probably be doing Natali's job at CNET (and now, CBS) if she had not left. However, I don't think that she would have been better off if she had stayed with CNET. I think Veronica has done an excellent job of growing her personal brand. She is known as "Veronica Belmont" instead of "The Host of Tekzilla and Qore". I think if you could compare the "brand identity value" of Veronica to Natali, then Veronica would score significantly higher. She would not have nearly the online cachet she enjoys today if she had stayed with CNET.
The upshot to all of this is that we should celebrate a smart and intelligent woman like Veronica successfully making her way (on her own terms) in the male dominated technology industry. For doing something for which there is no applicable precedent, she is doing remarkably well and deserves applause from all of us.
- Anjuan Simmons