It turns out that Microsoft software head Steven Sinofsky's departure wasn't so sudden, and none other than Bill Gates was onboard with the decision.
Sinofsky, former president of Microsoft's Windows and Windows Live division, announced that he was leaving the company yesterday after a little over 23 years with the tech giant. It was reported as a "sudden" move that no one expected, but new details behind the departure show that the decision was contemplated for a while and even backed by Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates.
While Sinofsky was seen as a brilliant figure at Microsoft, his downfall was that he didn't get along with others within the company. He was notorious for picking fights with other executives, including current CEO Steve Ballmer, and even pushed former executives like chief software architect Ray Ozzie to quit.
Sinofsky was key to the development of Windows 8, which was released October 26 and features an entirely new look and feel from the traditional Windows experience. However, Ballmer recognized that Microsoft needs to be more united internally across different divisions, and that change would be difficult with Sinofsky around.
Typically, in other company disputes, Ballmer and Gates would back up Sinofsky. But that doesn't seem to be the case this time around. Microsoft is looking to change and integrate teams across various units within the company. Ballmer saw Sinofsky as an obstacle to getting to that point, and with Gates' support, decided to part ways with Sinofsky.
All Things Digital heard rumors about Sinofsky's departure over the last few weeks, both from inside and outside of Microsoft's walls.
While the decision to part ways with Sinofsky was a good thing in terms of moving Microsoft in a new direction, it also means the loss of a great mind that had a strong handle on Microsoft's software and innovation. Sinofsky may not be a team player, but he was great at what he did. Losing that sort of creativity and completely revamping the inner dynamic of how Microsoft's teams work will not be an easy task.
Julie Larson-Green, who has worked with Microsoft since 1993, is replacing Sinofsky. She played a key role in program management, and UI design/research for Windows 7 and Windows 8. So we'll see if Larson-Green can stand up to the challenge and fill Sinofsky's shoes while complying with the new integrated direction Microsoft is looking to take.
Sinofsky's leave is eerily similar to that of the recently departed Scott Forstall, Apple's former VP of iOS Software. Forstall was let go in late October after 15 years with Apple due to recent issues with iOS 6's maps and his tendency to not get along with other Apple execs.