Windows Chief Steven Sinofsky Departs Microsoft

Microsoft's Windows head honcho has left Big Redmond. The change is at least as big a shakeup as Apple's decision to remove Scott Forstall as head of iOS in October, as Mr. Sinofsky has greatly steered the direction of Windows and oversaw the development and launch of Windows 8.

Steven Sinofsky

Steven Sinofsky, Outgoing Head of Windows

Mr. Sinofsky's responsibilities are being divided between two women, Julie Larson-Green and Tami Reller. A Microsoft veteran since 1993, Ms. Larson-Green will head up the engineering side of Windows. She was responsible for programming management of both Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Ms. Reller started at Microsoft in 2001, when Big Redmond swallowed up Great Plains Software. She currently serves as chief marketing and chief finance officer for the Windows group, and will assume control of the business side of Windows, too.

In a statement, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said, “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."

He added, "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.”

According to AllThingsD, the decision for Mr. Sinofsky to depart was officially mutual, but note that last sentence we quoted. Mr. Ballmer said that it's imperative that his company have, "more integrated and rapid development cycles for our offerings."

That strongly suggests that Mr. Ballmer doesn't feel his company has those things today, so just how mutual this decision was may be open to conjecture.

Mr. Sinofsky wielded considerable power at Microsoft. Windows is one of two cash cows at the company, and it was reportedly Mr. Sinofsky who killed Microsoft's Courier tablet project because he saw it as a threat to Windows.

The company went on to eventually launch Surface tablets with the interface formerly known as Metro, arriving two years late to the tablet party started with Apple's iPad. Some might even say he engineered the train wreck that has been Microsoft's tablet approach.

The Microsoft Train Wreck

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