I suppose I can't say what John's reasoning at the time. I suppose he wanted full control to the extent he didn't even wish to fool with complying even with the S&W's OGL details and wanted to distance himself from it enough that his company's game would really be his company's game. I dunno. But, that fell through as well since Delving Deeper is now the baby of Simon Bull and his...umm...I can't recall the name of his company. Anyway.
Marv is a great guy (he runs both the ODD74 and the Trollbridge (the GREATEST Tunnels & Trolls forum EVER!). But, he never seemed like even he cared to have to much to do with WB actually. In fact, despite the fact that S&W in general wasn't intended to be as near a clone of OD&D as LL is to B/X (more "spirit" than exacting interpretations of rules, as such is rather more difficult with OD&D than it is with likes of, again, B/X), Marv didn't dare to make the "spirit of 3LBB OD&D" as he himself ran things. That is to say: Marv likes his 3LBB OD&D with a 'white box-y' thief and some Greyhawk spells, monsters and treasure. Indeed his "payment" for WB was that he wanted his own free hard copy of the rule book.
Considering the intent of S&W, I'd have preferred he ran with that. Honestly, IMO, I'd imagine what would have come of that would be what WB:FMAG is/will be.
For my own part (not that it's much), had I known Marv wasn't aware and wasn't a part of it, I'd have pushed to make it so and would have communicated with him directly in fact. He and I had a lil bit of back and forth at least on the Trollbridge as I was a massively prolific poster there.
I'll never understand why Matt made so many changes (both in keeping more with OD&D and
S&W as a 'thing' as well as more art and a very different layout) and didn't bother with noting it was a wholly different printing with a completely separate print date.
...and why in the world he was 'finalizing' it without finding someone who could do better layout in general. Jessie/Verhaden had done layout over the year or two BHP had it and though it was slim with art, it still looked wonderful. I wish Matt had gone to him to work on it one last time. And the nonsense with that cover. Ugh. And knowing you were going to leave it alone for years...indeed...for forever? Huh? There are a number of fans who would likely have taken the time to help and grant their skills, but Matt didn't even reach out. Confusing then. Confusing now.
As to "leaving it to the fans"...
There had been years-long discussion/subject concerning old-school D&D in general in various hot-spots (forums, blogs, etc) that it was a shame old-school D&D wasn't "evergreen". That is to say similar to a game like Monopoly. It's released and, outside of corrections, never messed with again and always available.
Now (or rather, then), with clones, it was possible to do precisely that.
Since Matt seemingly didn't want to actively support WB and knowing it had a solid fan base as these things go and knowing (at least 'spirit' of) 3LBB OD&D deserved a clone...is why he asked. My opinion...but..it seemed at the time what answer he wanted. Which is what became.
I cannot recall the poll results except the remark that WB being left alone, left to the fans, not supported, done, finished, forever available 'as is' and 'evergreen' won by a solid or wide margin. I recall voting against it and being surprised by the results. However, as I alluded to earlier that may have been a product of folks' feelings due to WB going through the wringer in the weeks preceding and people didn't wish any type of color of repeat of such. I'm not sure. Hindsight seems to hint at it, but that's merely a wild guess.
I'd bet that had it been known at the time (as I worried about) the layout and art and presentation in general would suffer (after all, Matt admitted he didn't possess pro software or knowledge in the doing) and that mistakes in the tables and still-remaining errata would also be 'evergreen' and art not being full 300dpi or whatever the reason for pixelation in the art within and the excellent Mullen art presented in an unfortunate fashion that that would not at all be what folks who wanted an 'evergreen' product would have wanted or be satisfied with. Enough to change the early 2011 S&W forum poll results? I absolutely cannot say.