Sinofsky-related departure rumors and drama still continue on full swing it seems. For those that don’t know, there have no been a few popular reasons given for why Steven Sinofsky left Microsoft.
The leading theories are:
- He wanted more power, or even felt that he should be officially named Ballmer’s successor.
- Sinofsky had a style that was “my way or the highway”, all the in-fighting and other drama didn’t fit with Ballmer’s vision of collaboration and cooperation throughout Microsoft’s divisions.
- (related to point 2) Even Bill Gates stood behind the idea to push Sinofsky out the door since Sinofsky just didn’t fit what Ballmer wanted for Microsoft’s future.
It’s probably about time to move on folks, since we will never learn the full true. Still, it’s hard to move on completely when we continue to get more tid-bits of information.
Now it seems that Steve Ballmer recently spoke with LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman at a Churchill Club event. When asked about Sinofsky’s departure, Ballmer had nothing but praise for the guy:
Steven has made one of most amazing contributions anybody will ever make to any company in terms of guiding key activities and engineering systems, I wish him well. He’s always recommended if you make a change you make it on a product boundary.
Not surprisingly, Ballmer might have spoke positively about Steven Sinofsky, but he didn’t clarify why he had left. Steve Ballmer also says that Julie Larson-Green has been a driving force behind the vision of Windows so far:
Her unique product and innovation perspective and proven ability to effectively collaborate and drive a cross company agenda will serve us well as she takes on this new leadership role.
You’ll notice that he said that she had a proven ability to “effectively collaborate”. This falls in line with points 2 and 3 for the likely reason why Sinofsky was pushed out the door.
Sinofsky had a different approach from what today’s Microsoft was aiming for— pretty cut and dry.
Interestingly, even Steven Sinofsky has decided to chime in on the rumors. A blog from Hal Berenson, a former Microsoft team member, stated that Steven had lost recent battles to bring Windows Phone and Developer Division under his control.
He said that Sinofsky had wanted tighter control over the company. Seeing he couldn’t get it, he left.
Sinofsky replied to the blog via a personal statement:
Hal. Hey there, I find myself feeling to offer some insight — relative to what you say above, I never initiated any discussions to bring together the organizations/products you describe and no one ever approached me to manage them as part of Windows 7 or 8.
It will be interesting to see how Windows develops going forward. Sinofsky has been an important part of the innovation at Microsoft, though I think the company still has plenty of other great innovative executives to help push things forward.
So what do you think was the driving reason for Sinofsky leaving? Was it likely related to his style of management versus what Microsoft was working towards?