Steven Sinofsky, Microsoft's Windows Chief, Leaves Abruptly
November 12, 2012 10:11 PM
(Source: ABC News)
Sinofksy wasn't seen as a team player according to reports
There seems to be something afoul in the tech industry in recent weeks, and the stench seems to be coming from the executive ranks of two of the computing industry's top players: Apple and Microsoft.
Earlier this month, we learned that Scott Forstall, Apple's Vice President of iOS Software,
was shown the door after 15 years of service
. According to reports, Forstall was the most "
" of Apple's executive team and was
notorious for being hard to deal with
. It was also reported that Forstall often butted heads with Apple design guru Jony Ive.
Now it appears that Microsoft has its own executive shakeup in the works. Steve Sinofsky, President of Microsoft's Windows and Windows Live division, left the company today. The move comes somewhat as a shock considering that
Windows 8 just launched last month
“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,” said Sinofsky of his departure in an
email to Microsoft employees
I. First Forstall, Now Sinofsky
While the timing of Sinofsky's departure is a bit startling, the writing has been on the wall for some time with regards to his chemistry with other Microsoft employees. Sinofsky's inability to be a team player is cited as a major reason for his departure, and is reminiscent of Forstall's dismissal.
Sinofsky (left) shows off Microsoft Surface [Image Source: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]
reported this afternoon that there was growing tension between Sinofsky and other top Microsoft executives. This news comes weeks after
ran a piece
detailing Sinofsky's rise to power at Microsoft, and his rather combative style of leadership.
Jay Greene had this to say about how former and current Microsoft execs viewed Sinofsky:
Most requested anonymity because they feared potential repercussions. They paint a picture of an executive who is incredibly smart and passionately driven to ship quality software on time. But some also say Sinofsky can create a toxic work environment that has chased talented employees away from a maturing company that's in desperate need of innovative thinking.
Sinofsky's leadership style and compartmentalization of tasks and "reporting lines" within the Windows division lead his approach to be labeled as "Soviet Central-Planning." In fact, the toxicity within Microsoft was humorously detailed in an organizational chart
comic by Manu Cornet
[Image Source: Manu Cornet]
II. Steve Ballmer heaps praise on Sinofsky, points to new leadership
Microsoft CEO Ballmer sent a memo to his staff regarding the departure, and praised Sinofsky's 20+ years of service:
As we enter this new era, and with the successful launch of Windows 8 and Surface behind us, Steven Sinofsky has decided to leave the company. Steven joined Microsoft in 1989 as a software development engineer and has contributed to the company in many ways from his work as a technical advisor to Bill Gates, to leading the evolution of the Microsoft Office business, to his direction and successful leadership of Windows and Windows Live as well as Surface. I am grateful for the work that Steven has delivered in his time at our company.
Sinofsky will be replaced by
. Larson-Green has been with Microsoft since 1993 and has had a hand in program management, and UI design/research for Windows 7 and Windows 8.
Julie Larson-Green [Image Source: Microsoft]
“Leading Windows engineering is an incredible challenge and opportunity, and as I looked at the technical and business skills required to continue our Windows trajectory — great communication skills, a proven ability to work across product groups, strong design, deep technical expertise, and a history of anticipating and meeting customer needs — it was clear to me that Julie is the best possible person for this job, and I’m excited to have her in this role,” said Ballmer of Larson-Green.
"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher
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