Giant bombshell: Sinofsky out at Microsoft–effective immediately

By Kip Kniskern | In News | Posted November 12, 2012 12 comments

sinofsky01_thumbThis afternoon, Microsoft announced that Steven Sinofsky, President, Windows Division, would be leaving the company, effective immediately.  The news comes just as Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and Microsoft Surface have shipped, and at a time when the company is shifting its emphasis from a software and services to a devices and services company.

While the news is quite the bombshell, with Sinofsky just recently helping to launch Windows 8 at an event in New York, he has been quite a controversial figure, with rumblings from within and without the Windows Division of clashes and power struggles, including, according to a post by Jay Greene a few weeks ago in CNET, with CEO Steve Ballmer himself:

Now, sources say, Sinofsky is even battling with Ballmer, increasingly disregarding the chief executive’s efforts to get the Windows group to work in concert with other divisions. Disputes over features are hardly new at Microsoft, particularly as products hurtle toward the finish line. But the brashness of the latest disagreements is stark.

“The general perception is that the Windows group is harder to work with over the past year than it has been,” a current Microsoft executive said.

Microsoft issued a press release announcing the news, and announcing that Julie Larson Green, who along with Sinofsky has been in the public eye while demoing Windows 8, will be “promoted to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering”, and Tami Reller will retain her roles “as chief financial officer and chief marketing officer and will assume responsibility for the business of Windows. Both executives will report directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer”.

While we’re simply floored by the news, having had a flurry or two with Mr. Sinofsky ourselves, we wish everyone at Microsoft well as they make what has to be a difficult and sudden transition, especially Julie Larson Green (who shares an alma mater with yours truly), and Mr. Sinofsky himself.

We’ll have more on the breaking story as it comes in.  For now, wow.

Posted November 12th, 2012 at 6:17 pm
Category: News
Tags: Corporate Strategy, Microsoft
  • Mario Albertico

    “Wow” sums up my reaction too–I would have never predicted this! Like I said on WPCentral, this must have been extremely recent–as Sinofsky seemed bullish and excited about Surface and Windows 8 just a few weeks ago. Either Ballmer and co. were unwilling to hand over Windows 9 planning or things are not going well at all with Windows 8/Surface. Because if they put up with Sinofksy on Windows 7 and it turned out to be a success, why not put up with him again if things were going peachy on the Windows 8 front?

  • Mario Albertico

    “Wow” sums up my reaction too–I would have never predicted this! Like I said on WPCentral, this must have been extremely recent–as Sinofsky would deserve an Oscar for seeming so bullish and excited about Surface and Windows 8 just a few days ago. Either Ballmer and co. were unwilling to hand over Windows 9 planning or things are not going well at all with Windows 8/Surface. Because if they put up with Sinofksy on Windows 7 and it turned out to be a success, why not put up with him again if things were going peachy on the Windows 8 front?

  • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

    My reaction is simply: BOOM. What a bombshell indeed.

  • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

    My reaction is simply: BOOM. What a bombshell indeed.

  • http://twitter.com/surilamin surilamin

    I think he resigned, I know most people are saying he was fired/forced out, but if you look at this objectively it looks like he quit. Bloggers are super happy because they think Microsoft will be more transparent w/o Sinofsky, but I don’t think this will happen either.

    • Mario Albertico

      It’s an interesting idea, but what do you think would push him to resignation at this particular moment? (curiously asking, not suggesting it isn’t so) After successfully proving that his leadership style worked with Windows 7, why would he either cave to criticism or think his efforts could better be proved on any other consumer product?

    • Chad

      I agree.

  • http://twitter.com/surilamin surilamin

    I think he resigned, I know most people are saying he was fired/forced out, but if you look at this objectively it looks like he quit. Bloggers are super happy because they think Microsoft will be more transparent w/o Sinofsky, but I don’t think this will happen either.

    • Mario Albertico

      It’s an interesting idea, but what do you think would push him to resignation at this particular moment? (curiously asking, not suggesting it isn’t so) After successfully proving that his leadership style worked with Windows 7, why would he either cave to criticism or think his efforts could better be proved on any other consumer product?

    • Chad

      I agree.

  • Leonard Alfred

    I think it was time for him to leave if he’s not embracing the 3 screens and a cloud concept. For Microsoft to survive, Windows phone, windows, and xbox must share the same kernel and API so developers need only to make apps one time.

  • http://twitter.com/darkurious darkurious

    I think it was time for him to leave if he’s not embracing the 3 screens and a cloud concept. For Microsoft to survive, Windows phone, windows, and xbox must share the same kernel and API so developers need only to make apps one time.