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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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  • by Aphrika (756248) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:07PM (#41995119)
    Visual Studio 2010 was awesome. Visual Studio 2012 is a sea of all caps menus, grey and such a minute dash of colour that makes partially sighted people like me wonder if they hallucinated it or got up too fast...

    Seriously MS, fix it, along with the Coal Bunker/Snow Blindness colour schemes. I am not on a beach in Malibu, or the cockpit of a B2 on a bombing mission FFS!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:11PM (#41995153)

      Visual Studio 2010 was awesome.

      *touches your face in complete disbelief to make sure you're real and not a hologram*

      It's ... it's amazing how perfectly Ballmer has designed his new robots!!!

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:16PM (#41995207)
        Christ. VS is a fantastic development environment. This bullshit where some ass comes out of the woodwork to yell "ZOMG SHILL!%#!" at anyone that makes the mistake of saying they like a msft product, is seriously old and lame.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:20PM (#41995241)

          Christ. VS is a fantastic development environment. This bullshit where some ass comes out of the woodwork to yell "ZOMG SHILL!%#!" at anyone that makes the mistake of saying they like a msft product, is seriously old and lame.

          I swear to Christ, if it wasn't for this crap falling out of his mouth, I'd believe this was a human being before me!

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @06:30PM (#41996647)

          VS is a fantastic development environment.

          It's fine if you're writing code in .net targeted at a Microsoft platform. If you're trying to do something cross platform, or use a different language, or use a Makefile, or Maven, it's not so great.

          Like any tool, it has advantages and drawbacks. Anyone who can't see the drawbacks is a blind fanboy.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @06:41PM (#41996731)

            That explains Reddit & Redditors...

          • by MadKeithV (102058) on Friday November 16, 2012 @04:10AM (#41999539)

            It's fine if you're writing code in .net targeted at a Microsoft platform. If you're trying to do something cross platform, or use a different language, or use a Makefile, or Maven, it's not so great.

            We do most of that just fine - generating our native C++11 Visual Studio solutions and projects with CMake (along with the XCode OSX and iOS versions).

          • by luis_a_espinal (1810296) on Friday November 16, 2012 @09:45AM (#42000601) Homepage

            VS is a fantastic development environment.

            It's fine if you're writing code in .net targeted at a Microsoft platform. If you're trying to do something cross platform, or use a different language, or use a Makefile, or Maven, it's not so great.

            Good tool =/= universal tool.

            Why would someone use VS for cross-platform development? Why bring that as a tool characteristic? That's a little bit red-herringnish. For .NET development, it is an awesome tool. For cross-platform development, then one should use something else (I prefer flopping back and forth Eclipse CDT and vim/ctags in such cases.)

            Saying that a hammer is not a good tool for not being good at smearing cream cheese on delicate whole-wheat crackers is equally kind of weird.

            Like any tool, it has advantages and drawbacks

            And that is implicit of all tools, good or bad. If the tool (MSVS) is good for what it is intended for (.NET dev), then to mention it's lack of cross-platform capabilities doesn't really yield much valid information.

            Anyone who can't see the drawbacks is a blind fanboy.

            Saying that a tool is awesome =/= not looking at the drawbacks. Not knowing the difference is also a sign of fanboyish. Even more so when a person attributes the same flaw to another. Nice strawman, though.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:27PM (#41995303)

        We have open source robots now. They walk around complaining about Windows 98, Me and how MSFT is trying to take over the world. Too bad their ROMs are flashed with historical fragments from years 1994-1999.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:41PM (#41995475)

          We have open source robots now. They walk around complaining about Windows 98, Me and how MSFT is trying to take over the world. Too bad their ROMs are flashed with historical fragments from years 1994-1999.

          Pfft. Maybe if you've got one of the cheap ones still running on the 2.2 kernel. The modern ones properly report on Apple trying to take over the world, thank you very much.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:53PM (#41995575)

          We have open source robots now. They walk around complaining about Windows 98, Me and how MSFT is trying to take over the world. Too bad their ROMs are flashed with historical fragments from years 1994-1999.

          Oh, they're still right. It's just Microsoft's a decrepit has-been that can't get it up anymore and has no real chance of taking over the world or anything else beyond slow miserable decline into infirmity, incontinence, and incoherence. It's the Ballmer Way(tm).

    • by toejam13 (958243) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:55PM (#41995595)

      I agree. I had VS 2012 Express installed for about a day before I backed it out and reinstalled VS 2010 Express. I tried to give it a chance but the menus gave me a headache.

      Having said that, VS 2010 is a very nice product to work with. I say that as somebody who uses a Scintilla-based editor and who also has the Eclipse IDE installed. My complaints about VS are few and far between.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @05:13PM (#41995803)

      I'm in agreement that VS 2010 is fairly pleasant to work in, though not perfect. The UI redesign in VS 2012 makes it god-awful to look at and more painful to use. At least that's my experience so far, I haven't played with many of the options yet.

    • by Kawahee (901497) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @05:25PM (#41995967) Homepage Journal
      I agree with this as well. I've gotten used to VS2012 but I fired up VS2010 the other day and did a double take when I saw colour again and menus without all caps (yes, I know about the registry change). For me the metro interface on Windows 8 isn't too bad, but applying it to an application as complex as Visual Studio is silly. I hope Microsoft uses Sinofsky's departure as an opportunity to refocus on traditional desktop applications so that desktop apps can complement the tablet ones.
      • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @06:36PM (#41996681)

        you want to see TFS 2012... its one large blank canvas with a few bits of text here and there, no rhyme or reason for it, just minimalist and unhelpful. It also doesn't help that the menus are deliberately hidden away with no real hints that there's something to click on (on the web view that is). In the explorer, the menu items are scattered all over various menus - try setting security on the iterations.. hint: its not in the "security settings" menu item.

        Microsoft will take this opportunity to focus on the cloud as a replacement for everything, driven by the 30% fee app store.

        Come to think of it - the floating blocks are a start for this - if your product has an arbitrary set of disconnected features, then its easy for something else to add to them.

    • by crudeboy (563293) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @05:27PM (#41995983)

      Visual Studio 2010 was awesome. Visual Studio 2012 is a sea of all caps menus, grey and such a minute dash of colour that makes partially sighted people like me wonder if they hallucinated it or got up too fast...

      Seriously MS, fix it, along with the Coal Bunker/Snow Blindness colour schemes. I am not on a beach in Malibu, or the cockpit of a B2 on a bombing mission FFS!

      You know you can change the color and font scheme with an extension?
      http://www.hanselman.com/blog/YourColorfulVisualStudio2012WithTheColorThemeEditorVS2010ColorsToo.aspx [hanselman.com]

    • by BinarySolo (1951210) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @06:16PM (#41996539)
      Let's not forget the disaster that is the new "Pending Changes" window...
  • by Andy Prough (2730467) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:16PM (#41995191)
    as guys keep trying to "reinvent" this MS dinosaur.
    • by marcello_dl (667940) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:33PM (#41995377) Homepage Journal

      I disagree on the dinosaur. All they have to do is enter the same mindset of the windows era. "We suck, but let's steal/copy what's already on the market and let our customer do what they please with our platform, even pirate us. Once we get the market we'll shaft them with compound interest".

      And people is likely to fall for it again.

      One thing I'd do, though, is use another corporation. Money is de facto anonymous, untraceable, transferable with the speed of light, why bother with a name which is mostly known for the industry of AV and of fix it again technicians...... ...oh, wait a d*mn minute...
      I WANT THE LIST OF GOOGLE INVESTORS.
      THE PHOTOS, NOT THE SHELL COMPANIES.
      NOW! ;-)

  • 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.

  • by concealment (2447304) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:18PM (#41995223) Homepage Journal

    There is only one Lord of the Ring, only one who can bend it to his will. And he does not share power.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:22PM (#41995265)

    Windows 8 and rt is shaping up to be a monumental vista....

    So someone had to take the blame... Sinofsky was just in the right spot when the chair got thrown.

  • by who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:29PM (#41995335)
    He got caught banging some intern on Ballmer's desk.

    Or maybe he was just an ass hole

    Or maybe....

    this could go on for ever.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:29PM (#41995337)

    Seriously, who cares.

  • Malarkey? (Score:1, Troll)

    by macbeth66 (204889) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:30PM (#41995349)

    Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

    I have to tell you, I am almost feeling sorry for MS. They were the evil empire for so long, now they don't even rate as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

    What is all that noise? It must be all that barking from the seven seals...

  • Given the wording of the link, I thought it would take us to the actual post and comments in question. Instead I was tricked into visiting slashcloud. That's almost as bad as a rickrolling.

  • by larry bagina (561269) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:32PM (#41995373) Journal
    Previously posted here [slashdot.org].
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:34PM (#41995393) Journal

    "Sinofsky left a short note suggesting that rumors of a multi-product takeover were, frankly, malarkey."

    I suspect that he also denies being a reptoid, craving the taste of raw human flesh, or having grown from spores. Why would this be any different?

  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:38PM (#41995431)

    Stephen or Steven or whatever left because his penis was exceptionally large. Gates and especially Ballmer couldn't handle such a large penis. Steven just couldn't fit in ...to the corporate strategy.

    It's sad but true.

    P.S. Could I go to jail in Britain for this post?

  • Will not RTFS (Score:0, Offtopic)

    by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:40PM (#41995463) Journal

    Boycotting thread due to slashdot linking to itself. Stop the stupidty.

  • by Pontiac (135778) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:48PM (#41995515) Homepage

    Put your self in his position..
    You have been with MS for 24 years.. you pull down roughly 8.5 mill a year with pay and stock options [businessweek.com]
    He probably has a nice pile of cash and stock to last him a lifetime or two.

    The stress may be higher than the rewards and you got that last major release off your solders.

    Time to step back, have fun with the family and find a new direction.

  • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:55PM (#41995585)
    He has let the company stagnate horrendously and is obviously lacking in any vision of the future. Microsoft's fallen far behind and failed to adapt quickly to new markets and by all appearances doesn't even attempt to innovate. How much market cap have they ceded since he took over?
  • 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.

  • by Dan667 (564390) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:56PM (#41995605)
    is it really that hard to read between the lines?
    • by tnk1 (899206) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @05:44PM (#41996201)

      The question then becomes: Is he responsible for the abortion, or is Windows 8 the way it is due to the people who considered him to be abrasive and controlling?

      If he is responsible, as well as being controlling and abrasive, I'm hoping he was kicked out so fast that his ass left scorch marks on the pavement.

      If he was forced to compromise with fools who forced that outcome, then he may well be better off somewhere else, because those idiots apparently mistook trying to keep control over his own projects as being a reason to fire an executive.

      I'm not always sympathetic to engineering types who act like jerks, but I've been in enough WTF situations that I can totally understand becoming very direct and impatient when people keep trying to push the same bad ideas on you, time after time.

      • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @06:47PM (#41996767)

        Windows 8 can be seen a a lot of things, and I doubt Sinofsky was the sole dictator who had everything made to his personal design. that's not quite the way things work, however....

        guess who the new head of Windows div is? Julie "Ribbon" Larson-Green..... also the same person who was responsible for... well, guess. [fastcodesign.com]

        "Unlike other companies that maybe have one person at the top, we don't have a [design] czar at Microsoft," says Julie Larson-Green, VP of program management for Windows. Of Metro, she adds, "Its not like Steve [Ballmer] decreed it." One former longtime Microsoft manager put it bluntly: "I don't think Steve could even spell the word design." And unlike Steve Jobs, who was infamous for meddling in every detail of Apple's product launches, Ballmer didn't go to any of the rehearsals at Milk Studios for the unveiling of the Surface; his part was played by a stand-in till he arrived on the day.

        So if the brass were so indifferent to design, how did this thinking emerge at Microsoft at all?

        In May 2009, Julie Larson-Green corralled 150 thought leaders from various Microsoft groups (Office, Phone, Bing, Xbox) in the Redmond, Washington, campus conference center to kick off planning for Windows 8.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @05:23PM (#41995941)

    SteveSi watched the Vice Presidential debate!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @11:42PM (#41998651)

    It's not a question of "taking over developers" (although I guess there are developers in it.) It's Developer Division, the part of Microsoft that ships Visual Studio.

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