Steven Sinofsky, the president of Microsoft’s Windows division, has resigned from the company effective immediately. His abrupt departure has many wondering if his decision to leave was related to the recent launch of Windows 8.
The Wall Street Journal’s Shira Ovide reported, “Mr. Sinofsky, 47 years old, has shepherded the development of two versions of Microsoft’s flagship product, the 2009 release of Windows 7 and last month’s launch of Windows 8, the first time Microsoft’s operating system has been refashioned to work on touch-screen devices as well as traditional keyboard-and-mouse computers. Mr. Sinofsky’s sudden departure is likely to raise questions about the success of Windows 8 and about his relationship with Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer. Microsoft watchers had speculated Mr. Sinofsky was a leading candidate to succeed Mr. Ballmer, but Mr. Sinofsky was widely seen as a polarizing figure, and some people close to Microsoft said his inability to collaborate with other senior executives made him unlikely to become CEO.”
InformationWeek’s Paul McDougall added, “Microsoft will split his responsibilities between two executives. Windows planning head Julie Larson-Green becomes head of Windows software and hardware engineering, while CFO and chief marketing officer Tami Reller takes on the additional role as head of Windows business. Both will report directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Ballmer, in a statement, said he was ‘grateful for the many years of work that Steven has contributed to the company.'”
InfoWorld’s Woody Leonhard noted, “Nobody knows what happened. Sinofsky said, in his (blissfully short!) departure email, ‘Some might notice a bit of chatter speculating about this decision or timing. I can assure you that none could be true as this was a personal and private choice that in no way reflects any speculation or theories one might read — about me, opportunity, the company, or its leadership.'”
And ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley commented, “It’s also worth noting that the timing of the Sinofsky departure announcement isn’t as unusual or alarming as some are claiming. Windows 8 engineering is finished; the product is now in the hands of the marketers, deployers and licensors. Once products ship and new planning/development cycles begin at Microsoft, management changes often happen. Plus, at the end of each calendar year (and also many times at the mid-year point), Microsoft often instigates reorgs, sometimes within single business units, and other times across business units.”