Giant bombshell: Sinofsky out at Microsoft–effective immediately

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.