Windows chief logs off at Microsoft

Here’s some reaction to and key tidbits about the surprise departure of Steven Sinofsky — who was head of Windows at Microsoft — about three weeks after the overhauled operating system’s launch:

News reports and analysts say Sinofsky, who has been with the company 23 years, had been viewed as a possible successor to CEO Steve Ballmer, perhaps on the strength of his picking up the Windows division with the release of Windows 7 after the Vista debacle. He also was in charge of Windows 8, Microsoft’s radically different OS.

However, some are comparing his departure to the recent exit of Apple‘s Scott Forstall, who was in charge of Apple’s mobile OS. (See Quoted: on reaction to Apple shakeup.) Like Forstall, Sinofsky is said not to play well with others — inside the company and out, such as with Microsoft’s business partners.

Both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal said Sinofsky was a “polarizing” figure. He was “an uncompromising leader,” according to Reuters. Right before Windows 8’s launch, CNet said in a profile of Sinofsky that he had been butting heads with Ballmer lately, that his Windows team was “harder to work with over the past year than it has been.” As Microsoft seeks to tie together its mobile products and other offerings with Windows 8, it is said to need more cooperation among its many divisions.

The company said Sinofsky’s departure was a mutual decision, and in his memo he said he had decided to leave.

What does Sinofsky’s leaving say about Windows 8? It’s early yet, and though the reviews about the new OS are mixed, some say his departure has nothing to do with Windows 8, according to Bloomberg. What Bloomberg points out is that Sinofsky failed to receive all of his bonus for fiscal year 2012 because of a decline in Windows revenue amid the slowing of PC sales and the rise of tablets.

The new head of Windows engineering is Julie Larson-Green, who ZDNet reports was executive VP of program management of Windows Client and has been with Microsoft since 1993. Her management style might be the opposite of Sinosfky’s, at least according to a video interview the Verge has dug up in which she talks about getting people to work together.

Microsoft shares were down more than 3 percent to $27.20  as of this post, amid a mostly positive day for tech stocks.


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  • MangroveGeek

    Was he swapping Emails with Jill Kelley?