Huge Shakeup: Windows Chief Leaving Microsoft

Steve Sinofsky exits weeks after Windows 8 launch

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 13, 2012 6:20 AM CST

(Newser) – It's only been a few weeks since Windows 8 was officially launched—and already, the guy in charge of it has left Microsoft. Steve Sinofsky, who presented the new operating system at its launch and has had a 23-year career with the company, was Windows Division president. He's leaving "effective immediately," the Wall Street Journal reports via a Microsoft press release. CEO Steve Ballmer applauded Sinofsky's work, noting that "the products and services we have delivered to the market in the past few months mark the launch of a new era at Microsoft." Taking over Windows engineering will be Julie Larson-Green, "a specialist in user-interface design," according to an old Microsoft bio. CFO Tami Reller will take charge of the business side of the operating system. Some reaction to the shakeup, which news outlets are calling "abrupt" and "unexpected":

  • The New York Times spoke to "a person briefed on the situation" who says that the exit was a "mutual decision" made by Sinofsky and Ballmer.
  • Adam Clark Estes, writing for the Atlantic Wire, isn't so sure. "When the press release includes words like 'effective immediately' and fails to mention the departing employee's future plans, you can probably bet that the employee's departure wasn't exactly mutual."
  • At the Verge, Dieter Bohn writes that Sinofsky's departure had nothing to do with Windows 8 but likely had everything to do with his personality. "His attitude (and skill set) as an aggressive, tightly-siloed Windows boss—not a holistic Microsoft boss—may have done him in. Given that the future of Microsoft's ecosystem would require tight collaboration between disparate divisions, Sinofsky's future path as an executive at Microsoft was essentially at an end."
  • But Sinofsky himself tried to put rumors to rest in an email sent to his fellow employees, as per Mashable: "Some might notice a bit of chatter speculating about this decision or timing. I can assure you that none could be true as this was a personal and private choice that in no way reflects any speculation or theories one might read—about me, opportunity, the company or its leadership."

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, right, and Windows president Steven Sinofsky announce the anticipated release of Windows 7 to PC makers on Wednesday, July 22, 2009, in Atlanta.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, right, and Windows president Steven Sinofsky announce the anticipated release of Windows 7 to PC makers on Wednesday, July 22, 2009, in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/Microsoft, Erik S. Lesser)
Steven Sinofsky gestures during a preview of Windows 8 and tablet computer Surface in Shanghai Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012.
Steven Sinofsky gestures during a preview of Windows 8 and tablet computer Surface in Shanghai Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012.   (AP Photo)
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