President of Windows at Microsoft, Steven Sinofsky, Leaves his Post

Microsoft Corp. announced that Windows president Steven Sinofsky is leaving the company.

Microsoft said Monday that Steven Sinofsky, the president of its Windows and Windows Live operations, is leaving the company. Photo: D.Begley/Flickr

The executive who was predicted to be the next chief executive of Microsoft has left the software giant two weeks after launching the flagship Windows 8.

The news comes just weeks after the Redmond, Wash., software company launched Windows 8, which represented a major overhaul of its ubiquitous computer operating system, The Huffington Post reports.

Julie Larson-Green, who joined the company in 1993, is to replace the now-former Windows chief, Microsoft revealed. Tami Reller will be responsible for the Windows business while retaining her posts as chief financial officer and chief marketing officer.

“This is shocking news. This is very surprising,” said Brendan Barnicle, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities. “Like a lot of people, I thought Sinofsky was in line to potentially be Ballmer’s successor.”

The company didn’t reveal the reason of its mutual decision. Coming a couple of weeks after the official launch of Windows 8, however, it clearly wasn’t the best timing.

“I am grateful for the many years of work that Steven has contributed to the company,” CEO Steve Ballmer said in a statement. “To continue this success it is imperative that we continue to drive alignment across all Microsoft teams, and have more integrated and rapid development cycles for our offerings.”

Last month’s release of Windows 8 heralded the biggest change to the industry’s dominant operating system in at least 17 years. It’s believed to bridge the gap between personal computers and fast-growing tablets with its touch-enabled interface.

Sinofsky started his carrier at Microsoft as a software design engineer in 1989. Before heading the Windows division, his responsibilities included overseeing the development of Microsoft Office products.

One former Microsoft staffer who worked with Sinofsky and other executives said Windows top head has relentlessly aggressive style exasperated other leaders and may have alienated too many people, including his mentor Gates.

“He had no one left to fight for him,” said the staffer, who asked not to be named. “Gates gave him cover, so he must have eventually caved.”

Microsoft CEO has recently said that it was “imperative that we continue to drive alignment across all Microsoft teams, and have more integrated and rapid development cycles for our offerings”.

That could be interpreted as disappointment in Sinofsky’s ability, or willingness, to work with other units.

“Windows has to be much more thoroughly integrated with Xbox, with other parts of the company,” said Barnicle. “I don’t know that was something Steven was as excited about as focusing on Windows.”

It could also suggest that Ballmer was not satisfied with the pace of progress under Sinofsky, Reuters writes.

“Within Microsoft’s lead cycle, Sinofsky was delivering at the early edge of it,” said Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Financial. “But now the competition has moved from a one-year cycle to a six-months cycle.”

Sinofsky himself also didn’t revealed the reasons which might have caused the company to made this decision.

“It is impossible to count the blessings I have received over my years at Microsoft,” he said in a statement. “I am humbled by the professionalism and generosity of everyone I have had the good fortune to work with at this awesome company.”

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