Did Bill Gates Back the Idea of Sinofsky Leaving Microsoft?

Steven Sinofsky is gone, and not surprisingly, the rumors for why he is no longer with Microsoft continue to flood in. The latest comes from unnamed sources that claim that Microsoft Chairman Bill gates also supported the decision made by CEO Steve Ballmer for Sinofsky to hit the road.

This is interesting, but what does it mean exactly? Was Sinofsky really fired? By all indications, no. Instead, the sources say that Bill Gates had supported Ballmer’s change in direction over the recent years. This included a new approach that had more executives dipping their hands directly into projects and more collaboration.

In contrast, Sinofsky preferred the old-school secret “Cloak and Dagger” style of managing and controlling a project. He didn’t want to collaborate with other executives and instead wanted full control of all aspects of the projects he was working on. This lead to quite a bit of in-house fighting and other issues.

With the changes at Microsoft, Sinofsky might have just decided that it wasn’t a place he wanted to work at anymore. The departure could also have been fueled by another reason as well. Earlier it was suggested Sinofsky left because he had hoped to be named the future CEO of Microsoft after Ballmer retired. It’s possible that Steve Ballmer was leery about granting that wish – considering how different Sinofsky did things- and that Bill Gates agreed with Ballmer.

With both the CEO and Chairman standing against the idea of Sinofsky as a future CEO of Microsoft, Steven might have felt it was just better to hit the road. It’s really hard to say, and I doubt anyone official will come on the record and clear this matter up either.

The bottom-line is that Microsoft is moving towards a future where employees can work together more peacefully, side by side. Sinofsky instead seems more like a “Steve Jobs” type in that he liked to take control of every detail and could be hard to work with. Sure, the Jobs approach brought Apple to major fame and fortunate, but what works for one company isn’t necessarily right for another.

It will be interesting to watch how Microsoft develops in the next several years. By the time Windows 9 arrives we should have a good idea of whether or not ousting Steven Sinofsky was the right move or not. What do you think, is Microsoft better without him or should they have worked harder to keep Sinofsky on the team?

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