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Windows Chief Steven Sinofsky Leaves Microsoft 417

Posted by timothy
from the sinofsky's-all-haiku-now dept.
CWmike writes with this excerpt from Computerworld: "Steven Sinofsky, the executive in charge of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system and the driving force behind the new OS, is leaving the company effective immediately, Microsoft announced late Monday. Sinofsky was also the public face for Windows 8 and its new Metro interface, posting constant updates in a Windows 8 blog that charted its development. His last post, fittingly, was entitled 'Updating Windows 8 for General Availability.' The OS was officially launched at the end of last month. According to the All Things D blog, there was growing tension between Sinofsky and other members of the Microsoft executive team, who didn't see him as enough of a team player. But Microsoft's official position is that the decision was a mutual one. Sinofsky had only good things to say about his former employer." Also at SlashCloud.
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Windows Chief Steven Sinofsky Leaves Microsoft

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  • Rats. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @09:46AM (#41966579)

    Ship.

    • Re:Rats. (Score:5, Funny)

      by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @09:54AM (#41966681)
      Uff, took me whole five seconds to get it. I first thought that "Rats, ship!" was a command to the troops!
      • Re:Rats. (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @10:06AM (#41966793)

        Uff, took me whole five seconds to get it. I first thought that "Rats, ship!" was a command to the troops!

        Well, that's actually how Windows 8 got released!

      • Or maybe they're the rats on the "burning platform" described by another former Microsoft executive (http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/12/10/23/1658222/can-nokia-save-itself):

        "When ex-Microsoft executive Stephen Elop took the reins of Nokia back in 2011, he memorably compared the Finnish phone-maker to a burning old platform in the North Sea. 'I have learned that we are standing on a burning platform,' he wrote in a widely circulated memo. 'And, we have more than one explosion -- we have multiple points of s

    • Re:Rats. (Score:5, Funny)

      by jkrise (535370) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @09:57AM (#41966715) Journal

      Actually, it appears the rats (Ballmer and co.) are holding on to the sinking ship and driving the cats away....the ship will sink faster that way.

    • Re:Rats. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hcs_$reboot (1536101) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @10:42AM (#41967157)
      Sinofsky was a fuse. Ballmer sits next on line...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nomadic (141991)
      Microsoft's profit was $16 billion first quarter. I wish my ship was sinking like that.

      Shall we compare that to Red Hat? It seems that every time someone leaves Microsoft we get this gleeful rats/ships metaphor on Slashdot going back decades, but Microsoft has been and continues to be a fantastically successful company.
      • Re:Rats. (Score:5, Informative)

        by hazydave (96747) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @11:41AM (#41967975)

        That $16 billion is Microsoft's revenue, not their profits. Net income was $4.47 billion... still, not too shabby. Apple logged revenue of $46.33 billion and net profit of $13.06 billion. Google reported revenue of $10.65 billion, but only $2.91 billion profit. Red Hat? They did $314.7 million in revenue, $37.5 million in net profit.

        This tells the story of why Microsoft keeps trying to reinvent themselves as Apple. If only they didn't do it so badly. But then again, Apple's showing signs of not doing it so well these days, too.

        • Re:Rats. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by nomadic (141991) <.nomadicworld. .at. .gmail.com.> on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:02PM (#41968275) Homepage
          Actually you're right, the source I found online said profit, but looks like that was just a mistake. The whole thing is Microsoft can keep trying and failing to be Apple in the consumer sphere because they just have enormous revenue streams from their business and server divisions, and wishful thinking on slashdot won't change that.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by tnk1 (899206)

        I'm with you on the whole, "celebrations are a little premature", but Microsoft makes these profits because of their position in the market more than the fundamental quality of their apps or innovation, and as we have seen with other companies that have dominant positions, a lead of that sort can very suddenly evaporate if someone steps up. The fact that it hasn't happened to Microsoft yet has to do with the fundamentally excellent (for them) partnering and marketing strategies that they use, and a certain

        • Re:Rats. (Score:5, Funny)

          by moronoxyd (1000371) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:02PM (#41968273)

          Desktop Linux is finally starting to look like it is making some traction

          Next year will be the year of Linux on the desktop!

          SCNR

          The downfall of Windows and the rise of Linux has been foretold many many times. I don't hold my breath.

        • Re:Rats. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by war4peace (1628283) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:35PM (#41968747)

          Desktop Linux is finally starting to look like it is making some traction, especially with Valve working to make games for Linux, and I've always been of the opinion that an OS is only going to have mass appeal if you can play top tier games on it (without having to mess around with WINE).

          And, for fuck's sake, change the retarded application naming methods!
          When you have Guayadeque, a music player using wxWidgets then "abcde" which is a frontend for "cdparanoia" (SERIOUSLY???), Gedit (which works under KDE, so the "G" is stupid), Kate (wtf is this name for a fucking Text Editor?), Kopete (bitch, please!), XCDRoast (because the "X" really MUST be there!), then you can't hope that Joe Sixpack would be happy with that.

          "The KDE naming convention (KMail, KAIM, KPlayer, etc) tends to be a bit better than average, though they do tend to take the “K” thing a bit too far. Even this, which tends to produce easy to discern names, has problems (k3b, Kaffeine, amaroK, kynaptic, etc) and can get confusing at times." (from here: http://www.geek.com/articles/xyzcomputing/linuxs-difficulty-with-names-20051226/ [geek.com]).

          When you get rid of this hacker-wannabe naming methods ("yeah, um, well, I'm using xkcd-1.3.1-x86-omg-wtf-bbq") then you start to mature and think of customers, rather than just your fellow hacker-wannabe-bros.

        • The real issue is not their competitors or even the market, but the single question "Can I run xxxx on it" the xxxx is currently a Windows application and so the only system that can answer yes is Windows ....(fill in with Exchange, Office, Outlook, etc etc ...)

          Microsoft will only fade when people ask about apps that will either run on other system or will not run on Windows ...

      • Re:Rats. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Penguinisto (415985) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:04PM (#41968309) Journal

        Microsoft is certainly raking in big gobs of money, but consider:

        * Sinofsky knows the internal figures and projections... we don't. Perhaps he saw that the feces is about to meet the air handler for Microsoft, and didn't want any part of it.

        * Sinofsky was widely favored to be next in line after Ballmer left/got-ejected/whatever, and the investing community wants Ballmer's severed head on a platter. Boss gets nervous in a situation like that, yanno?

        * The man had full run of the company and could pretty much do whatever he wanted - at one of the world's biggest corporations. Why would anyone give up that kind of corporate godhood with no warning? Can't be because he's forming his own corp - that takes time and planning, and Sinofsky would leave slowly under such a situation to keep valuable corporate friendships going. Can't be due to being caught humping a dog's corpse while mainlining bath salts or suchlike, because that would've shown up on the news pretty damned quickly. Same with embezzlement and crap like that.

        So, unless someone can show me where Sinofsky joins a cult or buys a bunker in Kansas, his departure likely bodes ill news for Microsoft...

        • Re:Rats. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by TemporalBeing (803363) <bm_witness.yahoo@com> on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:26PM (#41968611) Homepage Journal
          Very well put.

          There are only a few reasons why execs leave, especially a company they have invested as much of themselves into as Sinosky did Microsoft. Gates left because of the Anti-trust stuff - it just didn't make business sense to keep him in the positions he was in.

          There doesn't seem to be a good reason for Sinofsky to go. So, like you said - it speaks ill of Microsoft's future as someone like him would hopefully see the writing on the wall so long as he wasn't drinking too much of the corporate kool-aid. So most likely, he saw the writing on the wall, wanted to do something about it, but kept getting headed off by others (e.g. Ballmer, Gates, Elop) getting in the way; and decided to leave instead of going through all the headaches and stress that would otherwise be caused. It also enables him to dump his stocks easier after about a year.
        • Re:Rats. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by flyingfsck (986395) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @02:41PM (#41971041)
          Sinofsky was fired for making a mess of Win8 just like the bloke who got fired for making the mess that was Vista. We'll probably be stuck with Win7 for the next 15 years and will have to keep 64 bit Win7 running in compatibility mode on 512 bit processors well into mid century.
        • Formally the reason may be a crash of Sinofsky's Win 8 presentation [blick.ch].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @09:47AM (#41966583)

    chair hit you on the way out! Seriously, DUCK!

  • by jkrise (535370) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @09:48AM (#41966597) Journal

    that the new interface in Windows 8 bombed at the box office....

    the beginning of the end, indeed.

    • by amiga3D (567632)

      Corporations as big and evil as Microsoft don't die. They Nasty away.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @09:56AM (#41966701)

      that the new interface in Windows 8 bombed at the box office....

      the beginning of the end, indeed.

      Actually no, since Microsoft let Sinofsky go and put in charge the woman directly responsable for the metro interface.
      I'd say it's going from bad to worse.

      • by arth1 (260657) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @10:11AM (#41966865) Homepage Journal

        Actually no, since Microsoft let Sinofsky go and put in charge the woman directly responsable for the metro interface.

        It could have been worse. They could have put the woman [wikipedia.org] directly responsible for the Microsoft Bob [wikipedia.org] interface in charge.

        • by VGPowerlord (621254) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @10:14AM (#41966905)

          Actually no, since Microsoft let Sinofsky go and put in charge the woman directly responsable for the metro interface.

          It could have been worse. They could have put the woman directly responsible for the Microsoft Bob interface in charge.

          I thought Gabe Newell was the project manager in charge of that project. Which goes to show that one bad product doesn't necessarily mean the person in charge of it will continue to create bad products.

          • by thoth (7907)

            I thought Gabe Newell was the project manager in charge of that project. Which goes to show that one bad product doesn't necessarily mean the person in charge of it will continue to create bad products.

            Huh? Melinda French was the PM on Microsoft Bob, after it crashed and burned she married Bill Gates. There wasn't another project she was over, AFAIK.

      • by hazydave (96747)

        Well, Julie Larson-Green is that woman, and yeah, she lead the move to put the Zune, er, Metro, er, Something-that-isn't-Zune-or-Metro interface on Windows Phone 7. However, Sinofsky was THE guy responsible for it moving to Windows proper, the guy pushing "same UI everywhere". One wonders if he's actually used a computer in a professional environment before... but I digress. The worst about this, if you're a Microsoft fan.. the Microsofties respect Sinofsky, even if they often hated his guts. They just see

    • by modmans2ndcoming (929661) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @10:00AM (#41966739)

      Actually, people have been talking about Sinoffsky for a while. He insists on Windows being the driving force at MS and he is the reason that it took MS so long to get their products into a vertical integration....His departure has nothing to do with Windows 8 and everything to do with his ability to get on board the new vision.

    • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @10:01AM (#41966757) Homepage Journal

      Microsoft is all about kissing the ass of big corporations.

      Metro is about as opposite of that as you can get.

    • by Alarash (746254)
      How the hell is this parent moderated "insightful"?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The "modest" sales of Surface ("modest" being Ballmer's word, not mine) probably did not help. Surface + Win8 was a big investment/effort.

      • While I personally think Win8 is going to be a Vista-level disaster, I think two weeks is a wee bit premature to be hanging any forecasts on.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by 0123456 (636235)

          While I personally think Win8 is going to be a Vista-level disaster, I think two weeks is a wee bit premature to be hanging any forecasts on.

          Nah, they learned from Vista. Last time they let OEMs keep shipping XP machines so people didn't have to buy Vista, this time I'm sure they'll kill Windows 7 ASAP.

  • Direction change (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jbolden (176878) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @09:51AM (#41966631) Homepage

    I'd hope this was a personality or really an interpersonal thing and not a strategy choice. If Microsoft starts going squishy on Windows 8 i.e. Metro they will blow a crucial part of their strategy. I don't see how they pick a different OS strategy at this point than ubiquitous computing. Releasing another new paradigm in 2014-5 will be a complete yawn.

    The 2012Q4 x86 midlevel hardware has been really exciting stuff, innovative. As the hardware manufacturers start one another's ideas 2013Q1 laptops and even desktops are going to feel a 6 years ahead of 2012Q1. That's an impressive accomplishment and I'd hope that Microsoft doesn't walk it back because other divisions are getting cold feet.

    • Re:Direction change (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DuckDodgers (541817) <keeper_of_the_wolf@yaho o . c om> on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @10:14AM (#41966901)
      Agreed. Paul Thurrott - who admittedly is two steps shy of being a raving Microsoft fan - noted that Microsoft says "We bet the company on this" at the drop of a hat - the launch of the Zune products, the launch of the Xbox, the Office Ribbon, etc... such pronouncements are conspicuously absent in the Windows 8 announcements because they really did bet the company on this.

      I have Windows 8. As a semi-power-user, the learning curve took me all of a day. I'm sure that's enough to get screams of protest from people who dislike any kind of change. And of course that's the majority of computer users. But it's an acceptable operating system and I can completely understand Microsoft's drive to unify the user experience across phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and servers ( although for anyone that does not know this already, Microsoft Server 2012 can run without a Microsoft GUI, just PowerShell ). It's a bet on the long term future, and regardless of whether it pays off I think it was a sensible bet.

      If they're ditching Sinofsky for genuine personnel reasons, that's fine. If they're thinking of making Windows 9 more like Windows 7, I think they're kneecapping their long term future for near term benefit.
      • Re:Direction change (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jbolden (176878) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @10:31AM (#41967041) Homepage

        I'm sure that's enough to get screams of protest from people who dislike any kind of change. And of course that's the majority of computer users.

        Lots of computer users have a rather negative experience with Windows. At work they have locked down low power systems. At home they have cheap systems loaded to the gills with crapware. I'd say Windows Power users, which is a large chunk of the /. crowd, and always has been, hate the change to Windows 8. I suspect the vast majority of end users will love the change to Windows 8. One of the things that people don't notice and I was floored by is that computer literacy is crashing. Gen-Xers and Millennials are very competent on computers. iGen on the other hand find the historical accumulation on systems like Windows too complex. They like other OSes with less historical baggage (Android, Win mobile, MeeGo, iOS...). That's an important constituency.

        It's a bet on the long term future, and regardless of whether it pays off I think it was a sensible bet.

        Agreed. Ubiquitous computing is a very exciting program. And whether it works or doesn't it is great to see Microsoft exercising technological leadership again.

        If they're ditching Sinofsky for genuine personnel reasons, that's fine. If they're thinking of making Windows 9 more like Windows 7, I think they're kneecapping their long term future for near term benefit.

        Exactly. Windows 9 should be like Windows 8 but even further. Win7 should be a guest OS running on the Hypervisor, which doesn't boot by default. Like the Classic environment when Apple switched to OSX. That starts to really strongly push the user base away from Win32 applications. If developers find out next year that's the intent they will start writing Metro GUIs to allow their apps to install in both environments (sort of like the Carbon porting libraries).

      • by somersault (912633) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @10:46AM (#41967209) Homepage Journal

        I can completely understand Microsoft's drive to unify the user experience across phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and servers

        This is what MS have done every time they've brought out a mobile OS.

        And guess what? Desktop interfaces are shit on PDAs/tablets/phones, and these devices never sold that well.

        And guess what else? Mobile interfaces are shit on the desktop, and they're not going to sell that well.

        • The problem with Microsoft is that they are doing this to further their own internal corporate goals and not to make it a better product for users.

          They are totally about what helps THEM. Most companies could never survive this way, but they manage as they have made themselves the default in many minds. I

          Yeah, MS has had many failures. And most of these failures have been about making it all about THEM instead of their customers.

          Sony is slowly dying of the same disease.

        • by jbolden (176878)

          That's Apple's theory. And if it is true then ubiquitous computing fails and we are in the world of a unique GUI for every type of device and people having to learn many many interfaces in exchange for each one being hardware tweaked.

          Microsoft's theory is that with OS support for automatically rendering in an interface appropriate way things can operate across different types of hardware.

          We'll see who's right, or if both are good and both can coexist. It isn't obvious to me that Apple's approach is better

          • I don't think of it as Apple's theory at all, it's just obvious from observation of the evidence so far. A desktop interface is a poor choice for a watch, a calculator, a GPS, a car, a microwave, a phone, or in fact any device that doesn't have a mouse and keyboard. The learning curve for these interfaces should be quite shallow and job specific.

            I haven't heard anything positive about WIndows 8 yet. All I've seen is people saying that you can get used to it, and it's not so bad. Kinda. Sort of. Hardly glori

  • Amazing (Score:5, Funny)

    by Swampash (1131503) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @09:54AM (#41966677)

    ...how once people get described as "a potential successor to Steve Ballmer" they mysteriously disappear...

    • by dmbasso (1052166)

      After Reiser and McAfee, I would not be surprised if his body would later be found with a chair-based concussion.

    • Re:Amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Will.Woodhull (1038600) <wwoodhull@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @10:58AM (#41967373) Homepage Journal

      There might be more to parent post than just "4+ Funny".

      Ballmer has become increasingly vulnerable. Basically, nobody much likes having a potty-mouthed, chair-throwing monkey dancer as a CEO, either inside or outside the corporation. He got the job not because he rose up through the ranks or had demonstrable skills but because he was Gates' chief sycophant, loyal to the core. It is long past time for him to be replaced by someone who can steer the monster resources of Microsoft in an appropriate direction, rather than just sitting there in the driver's seat while the huge earth-mover rumbles around without a definite direction.

      By encouraging his most likely internal replacement to leave the company, Ballmer has done the one thing he could do that most reduces his risks of getting tossed out like a chair. There is no question that Microsoft lost a valuable asset when Sinofsky walked, but his continued presence as Win8 becomes a success would have been a major personal threat to Ballmer.

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @09:58AM (#41966725)

    Scott Forstall denied that he and Steven Sinofsky are forming a secret club with the aim of ".. getting back at all those people who just don't know any better and need to told how things should be done...".
     
    It's rumored that the first meeting will be held in a tree-house in the back yard of Scott's mothers' house, and that "no girls or software company executives will be allowed", and pizza and soft drinks may be delivered.

  • Good Riddance ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @09:58AM (#41966727)

    Posting anonymously because... well...

    Anyway, the guy had a Jobs complex. That sort of attitude may have worked in a "one trick" company like Apple (not trying to start a flame war on that, but Apple has a VERY stovepiped set of products as compared to Microsoft). All it did was piss people off in the other business groups at Microsoft, though.

    Like many of the oustings at Microsoft over the last 4-5 years, this is a good one, and a positive sign for the company.

    And lest there be any confusion on it -- at Microsoft, once you're Partner level, decisions to leave are always "mutual".

    • by mbkennel (97636)

      Pissing people off is not necessarily the worst thing, not getting stuff done right is the worst thing.

      The ousting that really matters isn't happening.

    • Hmm!

      I don't have any inside information here, but lots of reports suggest that Microsoft's top executives are "team players" like scorpions in a bottle.

  • by Ingenimus Prime (2632659) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @10:00AM (#41966741)
    As an MS SQL developer, I thought I'd already seen the height of IDE inanity, but with Win8 they managed to make it ever worse, requiring even more clicks to perform even the most basic tasks, and frustrate users who simply want to 'get back' to where they started. It's good they fired the guy, Win8 may be different than Win7 (which does not totally suck, but it's still heavily MS'd), but I don't see it as an improvement, or an innovation, just... different. They way I see it, MS will continue down this point-click-click-click-click paradigm, forever making things more difficult and frustrating to do. They should be trying to SIMPLIFY their interface and experience, not 'Techify' it with junk that only makes the user work harder to do the same work. It's a wonder they don't get that.
    • by jbolden (176878)

      Of course they get that. But the OS doesn't meaningfully don't control workflow. That's an application issue, that comes next. In particular "click" i.e. mouse is something they need to diversify.

    • by Dan667 (564390)
      less clicks is such a basic goal. Every iteration microsoft makes more and more clicks necessary to do anything. And why are their more clicks? More intuitive? Nope. Just appears to be change to say it is different.
  • With OpenGL gaining popularity windows is becoming more and more irrelevant, and I guess that's a good thing.
    A few hours ago I downloaded Haiku-OS to give it a spin.

  • by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @10:28AM (#41967005)

    Sinofsky had only good things to say about his former employer

    When I was laid off years ago, in order to get my severance package, I had to sign an agreement to *not* say bad things about the company in the press. I imagine this guy had $Millions on the line if he does say anything disparaging. Hell, if the MS lawyers are any good, they made sure that any companies that he forms within N years have to use MS products exclusively. (or at least for the public facing computers)

  • I wonder if this means that some others who left in the recent past, like J Allard or Ray Ozzie will be coming back. The rumors were that Sinofsky vigorously opposed their plans, and they left after Balmer decided to back Sinofsky's way rather than them.

  • by Dan667 (564390) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @11:05AM (#41967467)
    microsoft is mad and fires guy who was in charge of it. Seems plausible.

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