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Ballmer and Gates recognized that Microsoft needs to be more united internally across different divisions, and that change would be difficult with Sinofsky around

It turns out that Microsoft software head Steven Sinofsky's departure wasn't so sudden, and none other than Bill Gates was onboard with the decision. 

Sinofsky, former president of Microsoft's Windows and Windows Live division, announced that he was leaving the company yesterday after a little over 23 years with the tech giant. It was reported as a "sudden" move that no one expected, but new details behind the departure show that the decision was contemplated for a while and even backed by Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates. 

While Sinofsky was seen as a brilliant figure at Microsoft, his downfall was that he didn't get along with others within the company. He was notorious for picking fights with other executives, including current CEO Steve Ballmer, and even pushed former executives like chief software architect Ray Ozzie to quit. 

Sinofsky was key to the development of Windows 8, which was released October 26 and features an entirely new look and feel from the traditional Windows experience. However, Ballmer recognized that Microsoft needs to be more united internally across different divisions, and that change would be difficult with Sinofsky around. 

Typically, in other company disputes, Ballmer and Gates would back up Sinofsky. But that doesn't seem to be the case this time around. Microsoft is looking to change and integrate teams across various units within the company. Ballmer saw Sinofsky as an obstacle to getting to that point, and with Gates' support, decided to part ways with Sinofsky. 

All Things Digital heard rumors about Sinofsky's departure over the last few weeks, both from inside and outside of Microsoft's walls. 

While the decision to part ways with Sinofsky was a good thing in terms of moving Microsoft in a new direction, it also means the loss of a great mind that had a strong handle on Microsoft's software and innovation. Sinofsky may not be a team player, but he was great at what he did. Losing that sort of creativity and completely revamping the inner dynamic of how Microsoft's teams work will not be an easy task. 

Julie Larson-Green, who has worked with Microsoft since 1993, is replacing Sinofsky. She played a key role in program management, and UI design/research for Windows 7 and Windows 8. So we'll see if Larson-Green can stand up to the challenge and fill Sinofsky's shoes while complying with the new integrated direction Microsoft is looking to take. 

Sinofsky's leave is eerily similar to that of the recently departed Scott Forstall, Apple's former VP of iOS Software. Forstall was let go in late October after 15 years with Apple due to recent issues with iOS 6's maps and his tendency to not get along with other Apple execs. 

Source: AllThingsD

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By p05esto on 11/13/2012 3:50:55 PM , Rating: -1
Being a team player isn't necessarily a good thing. At most corporations the drones rarely speak up, they rarely fight for their opinions and don't shake the apple cart. The few independants and forces ina company make things happen, in spite of them being reviled and often disliked.

MS made a mistake here. It would have been like Apple board firing Jobs because he was a dick and a brutal force to recon with. I hate the guy, but you have to respect what he did there.

RE: team
By Boze on 11/13/2012 4:02:01 PM , Rating: 5
Apple's board did fire Steve Jobs because he was a dick and a brutal force to reckon with.

And Steve came back and got his revenge.

RE: team
By kleinma on 11/13/2012 4:44:20 PM , Rating: 5
Steve also fired his cancer through holistic medical treatment.

And cancer came back and got its revenge.

RE: team
By Mizerable on 11/13/2012 4:53:40 PM , Rating: 2

damn that was a good laugh

RE: team
By subverb on 11/13/2012 7:01:14 PM , Rating: 4

Best comment I have ever seen on DT

RE: team
By Tony Swash on 11/13/12, Rating: -1
RE: team
By soydios on 11/13/2012 8:05:30 PM , Rating: 2
What decent spelling you have; your parents would be proud.

RE: team
By Landiepete on 11/14/2012 1:55:53 AM , Rating: 1
I'm sorry to have to say I'm with Tony on this one. That cancer comment is so far out of line it's in a different state.

And I'm getting kind of sick of reading comments on the personality of a guy who built a multi billion dollar company from people who have :
a. Probably never met the man in their life
b. Probably never tried to build their own company, let alone succeed.

Granted, I've never met any of you either (I think), but anyone that has an inkling about what goes into building even a two bit company like mine and trying to make it go forward would not make such comments.

There. You can all go back to spitting on TDMFC's grave now.

RE: team
By Cheesew1z69 on 11/14/2012 8:26:53 AM , Rating: 2
Then quit reading? It's not going away.

RE: team
By Spuke on 11/16/2012 11:07:39 PM , Rating: 2
Then quit reading? It's not going away.

RE: team
By Digimonkey on 11/14/2012 8:37:02 AM , Rating: 3
What's wrong with it? Is it not true? He didn't say he deserved it, or glad it happened. It wasn't even an attack on his personality.

RE: team
By sprockkets on 11/13/2012 8:32:45 PM , Rating: 2
What, no links to pro Apple analysis sites? Horse it!

RE: team
By inperfectdarkness on 11/14/2012 3:27:14 AM , Rating: 2
Give this man an 11!

RE: team
By wordsworm on 11/14/2012 7:23:55 PM , Rating: 2
If you'd done a little research about his cancer, you'd realize how few people survive it as long as he did. Not all types of cancer survival rates are the same.

RE: team
By fteoath64 on 11/15/2012 2:09:39 AM , Rating: 2
If you have done more research on REAL cancer cures, you will realize that he could have been cured completely and lived to over 80!. The problem was, he did not "see" or listen to people who has known better and depended on the establishment. He died by the fruits of the establishment. Pity. Its his life though, not judging.

Note: All types of cancer are fully curable, it is the finding of the cure that is difficult but they exists. If one looks hard enough, they will find it.

RE: team
By Ramstark on 11/15/2012 2:14:42 PM , Rating: 2

RE: team
By zephyrprime on 11/13/2012 4:06:03 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. People don't understand how corporations work. It's so easy to become a mindless drone. The problem with the mindless drone is that they sink to the lowest common denominator of intelligence. When everyone thinks this way, it is the road to failure.

Unifying business groups is stupid. Look at nature instead. Complex organisms are made up of simpler subcomponents. The unifying point in the company should be at the top (balmer) and at the smaller peaks below it.

RE: team
By ClownPuncher on 11/13/2012 4:33:24 PM , Rating: 3
Some context might help; Sinofsky started a lot of infighting and department vs. department warfare. There was a distinct lack of open communication between different teams due to the backstabbing and ego problems.

If that's what you want in a company man, I don't know what to tell you.

RE: team
By Ringold on 11/13/2012 5:48:35 PM , Rating: 1
Exactly. The OP talked about the need for drones to speak up on occasion, which is true. Problem is, sounded like this guy was not only not a team player, but would verbally blow the head off any drone that raised their hand from time to time.

Plus, despots can survive like Job's if they happen to be unstoppable moneymaking machines. Even peoples dogs have probably got the idea Win8 is a lame duck on the desktop.

RE: team
By Tony Swash on 11/13/12, Rating: 0
RE: team
By ClownPuncher on 11/13/2012 6:13:15 PM , Rating: 2
No, it isn't.

RE: team
By Tony Swash on 11/13/12, Rating: -1
RE: team
By Pirks on 11/14/12, Rating: -1
RE: team
By Angstromm on 11/13/2012 6:07:31 PM , Rating: 5
People don't understand how corporations work.

You say that as if corporations were somehow a singular entity, as if they all work the same. We bandy terms like “corporate culture,” as if that represented one cultural ideal or reality. Thing is, corporations are a lot more varied than that and there exist multifarious permutations in/to corporate cultureS and an array of management styles, etc.

Re. drones. Yeah, I think you make a viable point here. Folks want to protect their position, especially if the culture doesn’t support active, creative engagement and feedback by all its members, thereby discouraging those that would otherwise speak their mind.

Unifying business groups is stupid. Look at nature instead. Complex organisms are made up of simpler subcomponents. The unifying point in the company should be at the top (balmer) and at the smaller peaks below it.

Couple of points here:

1. I think you might be speaking in a vacuum; unless you’re involved in the discussions within MS regarding restructuring, you probably are as clueless as you sound.

2. Ever hear of Systems Theory? The strictly binary and hierarchical theoretical structures stipulated by earlier and outmoded forms of ecological studies, biology, the like (and many other disciplines), are to some degree being supplanted by Systems Theory. One of the hallmarks inherent to systems and systems thinking is “feedback.” Without feedback a system cannot self-regulate and will, therefore, parish. Feedback is a loop and not, strictly speaking, hierarchical (I’m not suggesting that hierarchy has no function within a system, it does). So, whether you’re talking about ecosystems, individual organisms or corporations, feedback from the component parts must be “heard” in order that the system continue to function and thrive. There are many business models and structures reflecting this sort of thinking.

Further, to suggest that there’s somehow a one-to-one correspondence between complex organisms being comprised of simpler subcomponents and a unifying principle at, or from, the top is sorta silly. I can see making a metaphorical case here; perhaps that’s what you intended? Not sure. In any event, just because complex organisms are comprised of simpler subcomponents does not then mean that there’s an overarching controlling entity of some sort—there’s just too many ways to conceptualize complex organic structures/organisms, systems theory being only one of them.

There are structural models that blend approaches, that blend nested hierarchies with more systems-based approaches; blend hierarchical, top-down management paradigms with more cooperative, egalitarian approaches. And every permutation imaginable in between. So to suggest, as you seem to, that there’s one approach and one overarching paradigm for corporate structure and operation is pretty monodimensional and reductive.

And, everything I’ve said arises from vast ignorance. What the hell do I know???

RE: team
By flowrush on 11/13/2012 8:34:21 PM , Rating: 2
I love how you expanded on your argument, it was very enlightening. I have been delving a bit into chaos theory and other research including round table pbs discussions mentioning about feedback loops. I truly believe this feedback loop is a constant that pervades everything in the world and can be seen on infinite scales. There's much to be said about grouping as well and how this falls into the feedback patterns. I thin if people took more cue about these possibly universal truths, we would learn how to implement them in everything we do and create the most efficient system of communication.

RE: team
By Angstromm on 11/14/2012 11:23:10 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks, much appreciated!

I think it's helpful when we try to remain open to new and different ways of seeing and doing things. Thomas Kuhn talks about the idea of paradigm shifts (in science, but this can apply to anything, really) and how the old guard clings to the old, more established paradigm and that it takes time for a shift in thinking to occur, for the new paradigm to become accepted--like the shift from Newtonian Physics to Quantum Theory.

I also think it's important to remember that all systems of thought, scientific or otherwise, are just that: ideational structures that attempt to describe some portion of reality but don't, in and of themselves, constitute reality. So, what truth is the rational intellect, the scientific mind/method will never really know in entirety. Maybe. Ha!

RE: team
By Gurthang on 11/14/2012 12:19:28 PM , Rating: 2
Carefull with how you word that, your openness has left you open to the "crazy". heh.

The scientific method, which describes not just the process to test your own ideas but also the belief that something must be able to be tested and verified by others before it can be accepted is the core element that allows us to slowly devine the real rules the govern our shared "reality". The feedbacks of that system have been shown to work though sometimes not as fast or in the directions as some would like (quantum mechanics, climate change, evolution, etc.) or expect but the progress we have made is amazing.

RE: team
By someguy123 on 11/13/2012 9:28:22 PM , Rating: 3
Sounds to me like you don't understand how corporations work if you honestly believe someone could managed to stay in a high position for 23 years, only to get the boot for not being a mindless drone before the 24th. He already had problems with other staff like the article's example of Ray Ozzie yet maintained his position. He was fired because he would cause infighting between divisions, which, even if his goal was good product development through competition, didn't align with microsoft's goals of unifying its software divisions.

RE: team
By Ammohunt on 11/13/2012 4:18:11 PM , Rating: 2
I agree a bunch of nodding heads doesn't help innovation "its the everyone wins and gets a medal" mentality that is seeming into Corporate America.

RE: team
By BifurcatedBoat on 11/13/2012 8:29:38 PM , Rating: 3
In Sinofsky's position, I have a hard time imagining he was fired for being willing to speak up. His job was to lead. It seems more like he was in a position where he was stifling other people's ability to speak up and contribute.

Having that type of person around creates the scenario that you speak of as a self-fulfilling prophecy. What highly competent person wants to work for someone like that? Nobody.

So all the best people leave, and the ones who are willing to stay are the drones who know they have very limited prospects elsewhere, and so they are just happy to have a job at all.

So now you do need Mr. Forceful Micromanager to get things done. Not because it's a good way to do things, but because there is no other way now.

"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs

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