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Windows and Surface boss Steven Sinofsky leaves Microsoft

by Mark Tyson on 13 November 2012, 10:16

Tags: Windows 8, Surface, Office 2010

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabo3r

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Microsoft has announced via its official blog that Windows and Windows Live President Steven Sinofsky will be leaving the company. His joint-role vacancy will be filled by two people; they will start their roles straight away. Julie Larson-Green will be promoted to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering and Tami Reller will assume responsibility for the business of Windows while retaining her roles as chief financial officer and chief marketing officer.

Steve Ballmer and Steven Sinofsky have both made statements about the departure. Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, said “I am grateful for the many years of work that Steven has contributed to the company”. He went on to list the “incredible foundation” that has been made with new versions of Windows, Office, Windows Phone, Surface, and so on. In his turn Steven Sinofsky issued a positive and warm statement about his time at Microsoft, where he has been employed since 1989. “It is impossible to count the blessings I have received over my years at Microsoft. I am humbled by the professionalism and generosity of everyone I have had the good fortune to work with at this awesome company,” Sinofsky said.

The big question is why has he left and why so sudden? Looking at CBS News, rumours are that Sinofsky was in conflict with Steve Ballmer. While the statement on the Microsoft blog has no hint of Sinofsky being axed or forcefully ejected “the abruptness of the announcement might suggest otherwise.”

Julie Larson-Green & Tami Reller

The replacements

Julie Larson-Green has been at Microsoft since 1993, working on core software products including IE, Office and Windows. “In her new role she will be responsible for all future Windows product development in addition to future hardware opportunities,” says the Microsoft blog.

Tami Reller is expanding her current role at Microsoft as chief financial officer and chief marketing officer to include “driving business and marketing strategy for Windows devices, including Surface and partner devices”. That sounds like quite a large job description. She’s been at Microsoft since 2001 before which she was a CFO at another software company acquired by the Redmond giant.

HEXUS Forums :: 12 Comments

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Really interesting. It would seem that anyone with a different opinion to Ballmer gets the sack.The list of key talent at Redmond appears to getting shorter and shorter. He does appear to be further out of control than an angry greased pig on roller-skates.

Worth a read.
Microsoft is a strange firm. Its a very big firm, but it often focuses too tightly on one area.

For instance the push on .Net (which is a great platform imsho much better than Java) they neglected C++. They have the money to do both.

Silverlight and WPF for instance are now deader than dead, despite been useful technologies for which there is no direct competitor (AIR is crap).

They also have this way of being reactionary, for example they with their partners made the first useful smartphones, but then did nothing more, no evolution of device, because there was no need, no competition.

The same goes with IE10, its a great browser, they have really put say firefox to shame, just like they did with netscape before. Hell I wouldn't be suprised if firefox's marketshare declines further and google slowly pull the plug completely to the better written chrome.

That as a developer on the microsoft platform, and as a consumer of their products, is something that always bugs me. The whole flavour of the month favouritisim. Sure they will support for 10 years, and support well their products, but they wont evolve them as soon as they are out of vogue.

For more on the single bloodymindness, see removing the start button in windows 8.
Worth a read.

If any of that rampant speculation is even close to true, it's quite possible that Sinofsky didn't like the way a future restructure was looking for him and took the opportunity (or perhaps hint) to get out while things were still relatively good. Before first quarter sales figures for Windows 8 came in, perhaps… ;)
If any of that rampant speculation is even close to true, it's quite possible that Sinofsky didn't like the way a future restructure was looking for him and took the opportunity (or perhaps hint) to get out while things were still relatively good.

Yep. From what I've read, Sinofsky was building a power base in the company that B might well see as threatening.
Sinofsky had done great things leading the Windows team IMHO, his blogs were useful and informative so it's a shame he's leaving. I don't think we should speculate too hard on the reasons unless more information is given, perhaps he just wants to retire or has health/personal problems - not everything is a conspiracy.