Breaking: Microsoft’s Windows Head Steven Sinofsky Leaves the Company

Posted on November 12, 2012 11:10 PM by Rob Williams

Microsoft has announced that its President of Windows and Windows Live, Steven Sinofsky, has left the company. His position is being split into two, with Julie Larson-Green being promoted to lead hardware engineering and CFO and CMO Tami Reller adding Windows business to her list of responsibilities.

Since the launch of Windows 7, one of Microsoft’s most successful operating systems ever, Steven has essentially been the face of Windows, in much the same way that Steve Jobs was the face of Apple. It was with the help of his decisions that Windows 7 became so successful, and likewise why Windows 8 had become the most radically-designed Windows yet. He’s also the reason why consumers knew so much about 7 and 8 well before their launch, thanks to his efforts with the Windows Team Blog.

What prompted Steven to flee the company isn’t clear. While it’s easy to assume that Windows 8 had something to do with it, it’s unlikely as he was integral in the development. Not to mention, the launch is still fresh in our minds, so it’s too soon to make decisions like this already. Surface hasn’t exactly been a rip-roaring success, but again, it hasn’t even been three weeks since the launch.

While the press release states that the departure was mutual, AllThingsD reports that there was growing tension between Steven and the rest of the executive team. Steven’s been rumored to have a very my-way-or-the-highway handling of things, something the other executives likely wouldn’t take too kindly to.

Whatever the reason, this is quite the turn of events to occur so soon after the Windows 8 launch.

  • madmatTG

    Hard to tell if this is a good thing or a bad thing. It could be good if he’s responsible for the FUBAR’ed new GUI and their flat refusal to bow to customer pressure over making 8 more familiar. Bad if he fought against the new direction they’re taking and now there’s no one left at bat for the end users.

  • Tharicnar

    Have to agree with mat, if he was responsible for enforcing Modern UI on the masses, then good riddance. If he tried to stop it, then it’s a shame. His presence in the Windows Blog was helpful though, and I wish this to be something that continues with the next OS, especially extended betas.

  • Marfig

    Steven Sinofsky was the man responsible and chief advocate of Windows 8. His blog can be seen here:

    The reason for him leaving seems to be entirely his own, according to a Steve Ballmer internal email (but Ballmer has lied before). Whatever the reasons, Steven dedicated 20 years of his career to Microsoft, which really makes this one big loss to the company, no matter how we look at it.

    Despite Sinofsky unmistakable position in Windows 8 philosophy (as well as Surface and Surface Pro), make no mistake nothing will change. Microsoft’s hierarchy is made of like-minded individuals. Any strays see their heads removed by Ballmer himself. Such has been the corporate model of later years in this company. Some see good in this because it allows the company to concentrate more on “production” and less on “invention”. Others, like myself, see in this the end of innovation in this company.

    • Rob Williams

      Agreed on all points. I have major doubts that Steven was pushing for anything else than what we were given. He’s probably the reason we don’t have the option to use a traditional Start menu.

  • Stetson Smith

    If he really was a my-way-or-the-highway kind of guy, one could also assume that there were many problems behind the scenes as this was likely the first windows to have absolutely no involvement from Bill Gates.

    It is likely that he pissed off people, and people pissed him off.

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