Microsoft Announces Windows Leadership Changes
November 13, 2012

Windows President Steve Sinofsky Leaves Shortly After Surface Release

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

In the wake of a new operating system, a launch of a new smartphone OS and new hardware, and their very first tablet, Microsoft has been able to make even more waves by firing Steve Sinofsky.

In a move which many have already compared to Apple´s firing of Scott Forstall, Steve Ballmer sent a memo yesterday to employees explaining the former Windows president would be replaced by Julie Larson-Green, a demo expert and user evangelist for Microsoft.

CEO Steve Ballmer sent an email to employees on Monday evening explaining the new changes after pumping up all that Microsoft has been doing lately. Ballmer called the launch of Windows 8 and the Surface with Windows RT a success, then said the company is entering a “new era,” saying: “Steven Sinofsky has decided to leave the company.”

“I am grateful for the work that Steven has delivered in his time at our company.”

In a response to this email, Sinofsky also offered some of his own parting words to the company he had spent the previous 23 years working with.

“With the general availability of Windows 8/RT and Surface, I have decided it is time for me to take a step back from my responsibilities at Microsoft,” writes Sinofsky.

“My passion for building products is as strong as ever and I look forward focusing my energy and creativity along similar lines.”

Sinofsky also writes that he plans to build on what he´s learned at Microsoft to “seek new opportunities.”

As far as the talk about his reasons for leaving the company are concerned, Sinofsky says the entire decision was a personal one.

“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,” he wrote.

The similarities between Apple´s head of iOS being let go and Microsoft´s head of Windows being let go are hard to miss.

Both companies made these announcements shortly after very large product announcements and releases. Both executives are said to have been quite divisive within their perspective companies.

Forstall, for example, was said to have such problems with senior vice president of Industrial Design Sir Jony Ive that the famous designer refused to take meetings with him.

According to CNET, Sinofsky has been known to get into spats with other members of the executive team as well, including the blustering Steve Ballmer.

Unnamed sources have even said senior leadership at Microsoft were concerned with Sinofsky´s inability to work outside of his team and collaborate with the company as a whole. Unnamed sources with Apple had also called Forstall a divisive element among the top brass in Cupertino.

Forstall and Sinofsky hadn´t always been such troublemakers in their companies, of course.

Forstall was responsible for building the software inside the very first iPhone and every iOS device since. Likewise, Sinofsky was brought into the Windows division of Microsoft in 2006 following the very disastrous release of Windows Vista.

While the former Windows president was able to turn Vista around into two successful launches, some who worked with him said he did it in a very toxic way, pushing his employees to the brink and secluding them from other departments at the company.

This decision was made effective immediately after Ballmer´s email last night and places Julie Larson-Green directly under Steve Ballmer. The CEO praised Larson-Green, saying: “Julie has been a stalwart leader of building compelling “experiences” from her time on Internet Explorer, through the evolution of Office and most recently to the re-imagination of Windows. Her unique product and innovation perspective and proven ability to effectively collaborate and drive a cross company agenda will serve us well as she takes on this new leadership role.”