Steven Sinofsky, the man who oversaw Windows 8, and contributed significantly to the Surface tablet at Microsoft, has left the company with immediate effect, AllThingsD reports. The cause was most likely a disagreement between him and other executives at the company, possibly over Windows 8 (although that’s speculative).
Microsoft states that the decision was mutual, and Julie Larson-Green will take the place of the Sinofsky dealing with the engineering side of Windows, while Tami Reller will take charge of the business side.
I am grateful for the many years of work that Steven has contributed to the company. The products and services we have delivered to the market in the past few months mark the launch of a new era at Microsoft. We’ve built an incredible foundation with new releases of Microsoft Office, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Microsoft Surface, Windows Server 2012 and ‘Halo 4,’ and great integration of services such as Bing, Skype and Xbox across all our products. 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.
It is impossible to count the blessings I have received over my years at Microsoft. I am humbled by the professionalism and generosity of everyone I have had the good fortune to work with at this awesome company.
This move has many similarities with the Scott Forstall situation a couple of weeks ago, however those should be put down to coincidence more than anything.
A lot was riding on Windows 8, however things clearly haven’t worked out so far. Furthermore while Surface supposedly ‘sold out’, no official numbers have been released, leading many to believe it wasn’t quite the success Microsoft made it out to be.
Assuming that the issues revolve at least somewhat around Windows 8, I don’t think that all the blame should be put on Sinofsky – in fact, I’d argue that Ballmer has been just as guilty. If he hadn’t been so obnoxious and actually listened to customer feedback about the Windows 8 interface during the beta releases, things would probably be quite different now. As CEO, it’s his responsibility. It’s undeniable.