Apple, Microsoft Executive Shakeups Show They Don't Want Another Steve Jobs
November 16, 2012 3:17 PM
comment(s) - last by
Ballmer didn't want empire builders, he wanted tight integration, collaboration
Steven Sinofksy is viewed by many analysts as a Jobsian sort of figure. Recently
driven out of Microsoft
) for allegedly not being a "team player", he nonetheless
fast-selling operating system in Microsoft's history
-- Windows 7 -- as well as perhaps its
most ambitious reimagination
. And he slashed layers of bureaucracy, in many cases cutting the number of employees between the lowest layer engineer up the ladder to the highest manager to around 4 or 5, versus around 7 before.
I. Lack of Team Play Let to Steve Sinofsky's Ouster
But Mr. Sinofsky's strict expectations and dictatorial approach to slashing bloat at the software giant rubbed many colleagues the wrong way. And much like another Steve Jobs-like figure -- Apple, Inc.'s (
-- he was eventually driven out. Both men were once considered
candidates to become CEO
at their respective firms.
But it appears that increasingly companies are placing "being a team player" over pure success.
While Mr. Sinofsky did strip away bureaucracy, it sounds like he may have had trouble working with other units in the multi-piece Microsoft empire. A source
, "What I'm hearing over and over is collaboration and horizontal integration is the new mantra. They (top management) understand that, if they don't move to a model where devices and software are more integrated across the entire Microsoft system, they are in a weak position."
Steven Sinofsky wasn't allegedly interested in working with other Microsoft units, instead trying to consolidate power to his own Windows unit. [Image Source: Extremetech]
Indeed many of the dramatic moves Mr. Sinofsky made with Windows 8, while potentially highly beneficial from a consumer perspective gave enterprise users -- and likely Microsoft's own Server and Tools Business division -- fits.
Brad Silverberg, a former Windows division chief, says that he expects big overhauls at the company in coming months as Mr. Sinofsky's allies jump ship and
Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer
moves to more tightly integrate the units. He comments, "I certainly expect the org chart to look a lot different six months from now. There will be attrition from Steven's (Sinofsky's) people and Steve Ballmer will have a chance to create a more harmonious organization."
II. Apple and Microsoft Both Kick Out Once Bright Stars
Many analysts and managers within the company viewed Mr. Sinofsky's actions during his 23-year run with the company as empire building. Comments Mr. Silverberg, "Steven is a brilliant guy who made tremendous contributions to Microsoft. But he was also a polarizing guy and the antibodies ultimately caught up with him."
An unnamed Windows unit manager recalls, "Sinofsky really centralized all the power under himself. We'll see how it shakes out from here."
And another ex-Microsoft employee who now works in the financial sector comments, "If you work in Steven's team, you love him. If he's outside of your team? That's where his reputation of being hard to work with came from."
The situation is remarkably similar to the Scott Forstall scenario at Apple. Mr. Forstall was notorious for looking to outshine and openly compete with other units at Apple. He famously would admonish his co-SVPs commenting, "
Steve wouldn't do that.
Scott Forstall, suffered a remarkably similar fate to Mr. Sinofsky [Source: Fast Company]
But in the end the pair of top hardware-software firms decided to
To be fair the much-discussed team player aspect was only part of the picture; Windows 8 while doing modestly in pre-sales was heavily criticized by some and was not expected to match Windows 7 in sales. Meanwhile, at Apple Scott Forstall had carried out the launch of iOS 6, which ran amok with errors -- most notably a
laughably bad Maps app
. Reportedly Apple had given Mr. Forstall the opportunity to swallow his pride and sign an apology letter to customers.
Mr. Forstall refused, and was shown the door. Instead CEO Tim Cook took up the mantle of
saying he was sorry for the mess
to Apple's loyal fans.
In both cases the message seemed clear -- neither company wanted a stubborn, egotistic empire builder -- even if they happened to be brilliant and effective. In other words, neither company was interested in elevating the
next potential Steve Jobs
While many will feel that Apple and Microsoft made the right decision, both companies will likely be heavily scrutinized; particularly if savvy, agile rivals such as Google Inc. (
) or Oracle Corp. (
) scoop up the castoffs.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: successful personality
11/17/2012 2:11:20 AM
Well to be fair, if Nardelli hadn't bowed out of the running, Ballmer could only be a distant 2nd. And just because he's worst in the fortune 500...he's still in the fortune 500. MS could be stuck with Jerry Yang, Carly Fiorina, etc.
"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference
Steven Sinofsky, Microsoft's Windows Chief, Leaves Abruptly
November 12, 2012, 10:11 PM
Report: Apple Employees Celebrating Scott Forstall's Departure
October 30, 2012, 3:06 PM
Steve Ballmer Narrates New Windows Phone 8 Commercial
October 30, 2012, 1:30 PM
Apple Execs Scott Forstall, John Browett Parting Ways with the Company
October 29, 2012, 6:36 PM
Official: Windows 8 Launches Oct 26 at Midnight
October 25, 2012, 5:47 PM
Cortana, Xbox App, OneDrive Apps/Settings Backup Added to Windows 10 Build
December 15, 2014, 3:43 PM
Quick Note: Windows Phone Finally Gets Candy Crush Saga
December 13, 2014, 2:03 PM
Next Windows 10 Test Build Likely to Land on Jan. 21, Press Event Announced
December 11, 2014, 5:49 PM
New FourSquare App Hits Windows Store, WinPhone Gets Official Minecraft App
December 10, 2014, 2:15 PM
RIP, Microsoft Clip Art (1993 to 2014), You'll be Missed (Sort of)
December 3, 2014, 3:54 PM
Quick Note: Monday is Last Day for Half Off (or More) Square Enix Games
December 1, 2014, 5:30 AM
Most Popular Articles
Android-Powered BLU Studio 7.0 Claims to be the "World's Largest Smartphone"
December 19, 2014, 2:40 PM
Paramount Bans Team America Screenings, Cowers Submissively to North Korea
December 18, 2014, 10:26 PM
Miyamoto: Nintendo is Prepping Successor to Troubled Wii U
December 22, 2014, 6:28 PM
Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 Drops to $299 (30 Percent Off) for a Day
December 22, 2014, 10:57 AM
News Corp's Fox is Terrified of North Korea, Kills Upcoming Steve Carell Film
December 18, 2014, 4:09 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information