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Windows Chief Takes a Hike

Steven Sinofsky was a strong, disciplined executive who ran the Windows group. He helped usher in Windows 7, a great upgrade to Vista. And he managed Windows 8. Along the way he enforced a powerful discipline that wouldn't allow Microsoft folks to talk about Windows 8 features that were already disclosed. I found it odd and frustrating but reckoned it was his call to make.

Now Sinofsky has been unseated shortly after Windows 8 hit the market. The timing is about as odd as the resignation of a certain four-star general you may have heard about.

In high-profile cases like this the company doesn't exactly detail why they move was made. And Sinofosky made no Petraeus-like mea culpa statements. So we all get to speculate. My guess? Microsoft is taking a ton of heat over the disconnect between its touch/tablet interface and the more familiar "desktop" interface. It is an odd way to compute.

The other area of speculation is about what this means for Microsoft's prospects. The move hase some seeing storm clouds. This puts too much credit on one man. I don't think this move will make a lick of difference. If anything, it is good news. Microsoft clearly thinks it can do better and given its decades of success, I'd have to be mighty full of myself to bet against them!

What do you think of Sinofsky's departure? Put on your guru hat and forward your insight to dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 11/14/2012 at 1:19 PM


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Reader Comments:

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 Vince D.

Windows 8 could have been the rave of the world, and still could be if they put out the service pack that it badly needs. All of the unhappiness over it could have been made to go away but for one thing: Sinofsky’s hubris. “I know what you want better than you know what you want” might work for Apple (at least while Steve Jobs was alive), but the corporate IT wonks of the world won’t put up with that from Microsoft. I think that the Microsoft board still remember Vista and they hear the lack of love from IT. Come on, how hard is it to put in a control panel switch to tell the OS which mode to boot up in: touch tablet mode or desktop mode? Same thing for Aqua. For gosh sakes, the switch is already there in Win 7. No Start button? Get real. Do they realize how much it will cost us in training? Touch screens cost real money right now and it will be quite a while before they drop in price enough for me to justify replacing our flat screens.

Wed, Nov 14, 2012

Sinofsky seemed personable on the stage. Behind the scenes? Who knows? What I do know is the buck stops with him on Windows 8 and I've found Microsoft's absolute pig-headed tone deafness regarding user complaints infuriating. I switched from Android to Windows Phone 8 recently and I see Microsoft has the ability to create an amazing user experience with Metro. However, their first attempt at scaling it up to a tablet/PC form factor lacks maturity, polish and a solid vision. Am I asking too much in so little time transitioning from classic Windows to Metro? Most of the blame lies with Balmer who's complete lack of vision lost Microsoft many critical years.

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 Mangrove Geek Florida

Mmmm. Was he exchanging Emails with Jill Kelley or Paula Broadwell or both?

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