Just two weeks after two high-level executives departed Apple, a similar situation has happened at Microsoft. The Redmond company announced this evening that Steven Sinofsky, President of the Windows and Windows Live arms of Microsoft, is leaving. His exit, which is effective immediately, comes shortly after Microsoft launched both Windows 8 and the Surface for Windows RT tablet. Julie Larson-Green will be promoted to a position in which she'll lead engineering of Windows software and hardware, while CFO and COO Tami Reller will now oversee the Windows business as well.
When it comes to explaining why Sinofsky has left Microsoft, the firm is saying that the decision was a mutual one between it and the departing exec. However, sources speaking to AllThingsD claim that there were some tensions between Sinofsky and other Microsoft execs and that Sinofsky wasn't considered to be the "team player" that high-ranking officials wanted. As head of Microsoft's WIndows division, Sinofsky obviously played a large role at the company, and he was a big part of helping to promote the Surface tablets. Sinofsky's future plans are still a mystery right now, but it'll definitely be interesting to see where he ends up. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: Paul Thurrott of SuperSite for Windows has gotten hold of Sinofsky's letter (found here) to all Microsoft employees addressing his departure. In it, Sinofsky touches on the Windows group's recent introductions, including the Surface tablet, and says that he's "beyond grateful" for the time he spent at the company and the people that he worked with. Sinofsky also says that leaving was "a personal and private choice" and says that he decided to exit "to seek new opportunities that build on [the] experiences" that he went through at Microsoft.
Microsoft Announces Leadership Changes to Drive Next Wave of Products
Nov. 12, 2012
Steven Sinofsky to leave the company; Windows executives Julie Larson-Green and Tami Reller take expanded roles.
REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 12, 2012 — Microfoft Corp. today announced that Windows and Windows Live President Steven Sinofsky will be leaving the company and that Julie Larson-Green will be promoted to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering. Tami Reller retains her roles as chief financial officer and chief marketing officer and will assume responsibility for the business of Windows. Both executives will report directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
These changes are effective immediately.
“I am grateful for the many years of work that Steven has contributed to the company,” Ballmer said. “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,” Sinofsky said.
Since 1993, Larson-Green has worked on and led some of the most successful products for Microsoft, including the user experiences for early versions of Internet Explorer, and helped drive the thinking behind the refresh of the user experience for Microsoft Office. For Windows 7 and Windows 8 she was responsible for program management, user interface design and research, as well as development of all international releases. She has a master's degree in software engineering from Seattle University and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Western Washington University. In her new role she will be responsible for all future Windows product development in addition to future hardware opportunities.
“Leading Windows engineering is an incredible challenge and opportunity, and as I looked at the technical and business skills required to continue our Windows trajectory — great communication skills, a proven ability to work across product groups, strong design, deep technical expertise, and a history of anticipating and meeting customer needs — it was clear to me that Julie is the best possible person for this job, and I’m excited to have her in this role,” Ballmer said.
Reller joined Windows in 2007 from the Microsoft Dynamics Division where she held a number of leadership positions. She began her career in technology at Great Plains Software in 1984 while still in college, and was the company’s chief financial officer at the time the company was acquired by Microsoft in 2001. She has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Minnesota State University Moorhead and an MBA from St. Mary's College in Moraga, Calif. In her expanded role she will assume the lead in driving business and marketing strategy for Windows devices, including Surface and partner devices, in addition to her current marketing and finance responsibilities.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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