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Sinofsky Dismisses Trying To Take Over Windows Phone, Developers 70

Posted by timothy
from the that's-the-technical-term dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "When Steven Sinofsky stepped down as head of Microsoft's Windows division earlier this week, multiple publications cited friction with other executives as the primary reason behind the departure. Whether or not that's the case—neither Sinofsky nor Microsoft has offered an official explanation, aside from the usual platitudes—someone with connections to Microsoft is claiming that Sinofsky's departure stemmed from a failed attempt to bring additional parts of the company under his control. 'Steven had apparently lost recent battles to bring both Windows Phone and the Developer Division under his control,' Hal Berenson, president of consulting group True Mountain Group and a former Microsoft executive, wrote in a Nov. 13 blog posting. 'I suspect that he saw those [losses] both as a roadblock to where he wanted to take Windows over the next few years, and a clear indication that his political power within Microsoft had peaked.' The departure, he added, was the 'outgrowth of conflict.' Berenson's claim was enough to draw Sinofsky himself into the discussion. In the comments section below the posting, Sinofsky left a short note suggesting that rumors of a multi-product takeover were, frankly, malarkey."
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Sinofsky Dismisses Trying To Take Over Windows Phone, Developers

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  • Sounds like ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PPH (736903) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:16PM (#41995197)

    ... the story Raoul Silva [imdb.com] told about putting all the rats in one barrel.

    There are no growth opportunities left (look up MSFT), so the rat next to you starts to look mighty tasty.

  • Jobs reincarnate? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AwesomeMcgee (2437070) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:35PM (#41995411)
    I can't help but think this whole thing sounds eerily reminiscent of Steve Jobs (not in every way but..) in that this guy presided over the release of Windows 7, the best windows we've seen in a long time (I'm withholding judgement on windows 8 unlike many until it's had time in the market to prove one way or another, could be awful iduno), and the personality traits that are attributed to him sound very much in line with Jobs, and now he gets the boot... Will we see him come back in 5 or 10 years just to run MS to a new glory day? Who knows, if so, let's just hope he doesn't DRMurder all the consumers in the future like Jobs did...
  • by jbeach (852844) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:52PM (#41995551) Homepage Journal
    It might be that Sinofsky was actually causing friction by trying to get different divisions to work together - and that this was viewed internally by some people as a 'power grab' - i.e., something that would loosen the reins of their own power.
    Big companies can get very silo'd off, and the different silos can then become little empires. So then when someone comes along whose work and position touches a few different silos and tries to get some actual inter-silo planning and less duplication of effort, territoriality, etc. then pushback can happen.
  • Personality clashes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:55PM (#41995591)

    Sources also told The Verge that Sinofsky was “abrasive and off-putting, aggressively maintaining his control over products and putting up roadblocks.”

    Ah, the smell of a fresh character assassination. How lovely.

    I know nothing of Microsoft politics, but the wording of this is suspect. I expect what it really means is that Sinofsky was effective, had a clear vision and there were lots of people at MS who wanted to interfere with it. All too often in large organizations "abrasive and off-putting" simply means "states what he thinks without embellishment". "Aggressively maintaining control" can translate as "told me my ideas sucked" and "putting up roadblocks" means "caught me when I tried to go around him".

    Some years ago I'd have taken these sorts of statements at face value, but having recently been denied a promotion on similar grounds I'm getting very cynical about it. All too often a team or individual comes up with an proposal or process that simply isn't good, and when given polite feedback responds with something like, "Thanks for the feedback, we'll take it on board". Then they ignore it and come back the next week asking why their awesome idea didn't get implemented yet. The feedback is re-iterated more directly in the hope of the message sinking in, the same response is received. Eventually the answer becomes "No, because this idea won't work" and they get offended. Now you have communication issues.

    People often forget that communication is two way. It's important to be good at sending and not being unnecessarily dickish or hurtful. But it's also important to be able to receive, and especially when dealing with people who have an engineering background (like Sinofsky does) to be able to take direct and clear feedback that you don't like. It's very common in engineering, especially software engineering, to have everything you do be reviewed in detail and for things to be clearly right or wrong. Many people outside of engineering can't handle this. They have sometimes gone their entire lives without ever having an idea or proposal rejected for being objectively wrong, and when it happens, they can't take it. Seen it so many times. And Ballmer is a salesman by background.

    Somehow I doubt Sinofsky was really a giant cock as the quote implies, how would he have had such a long and successful career if he was genuinely a nasty person? He'd have been washed out a long time ago. Far more likely is that some people who did not have his experience or background wanted to do things to Windows that to him were just wrong, and eventually he told them so.

"Someone's been mean to you! Tell me who it is, so I can punch him tastefully." -- Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse

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