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Microsoft Operating Systems Software Windows Technology

Windows Chief Steven Sinofsky Leaves Microsoft 417

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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  • 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".

  • Re: So.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @10:02AM (#41966759) Homepage Journal

    How much Slashdot have you read? There are plenty of people here that think both Apple and M.S. are full of shit.

    Apple is busy making their entire line a walled garden and M.S. is flaying around dodging chairs with no direction.

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

    by DuckDodgers ( 541817 ) <> 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.
  • 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 PhrostyMcByte ( 589271 ) <> on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @10:22AM (#41966961) Homepage

    During Windows Vista and previous development, private beta testers (not internal to MS) were given a constant stream of new builds to test. Microsoft was very responsive and bugs were generally fixed very quickly. I know this will surprise people, but at least for me, Vista was quite bug-free at launch because all the ones I found during the beta were fixed.

    Sinofsky took over for Windows 7, and the change in testing procedure was jarring. We got a total of two builds over the entire program -- Beta 1 and RC. The effects of this were that many bug reports weren't reproducible on their much newer internal builds, so the bugs either didn't get fixed or testers were wasting effort. When the RC was released, Microsoft actually deleted many old bug reports and told everyone not to submit anything that didn't result in a BSOD or failed install, which let a lot of glaring cosmetic bugs get through. I can only imagine this was so they could reduce their official bug counts at launch.

    The botched Windows 7 testing lead to the weirdest thing I could imagine -- in the middle of the program, there was basically a revolt among the testers. So much so that some took to labeling themselves "proud" testers in their signatures to separate them from the frustrated majority.

    For Windows 8 -- we all pretty much knew it was going to happen -- there was no external testing at all. I guess after Vista's performance issues and the poor handling of 7, it was pretty easy for them to decide testers weren't helping them.

  • 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)

  • 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).

  • Re: So.. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by dc29A ( 636871 ) * on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @10:51AM (#41967267)

    Windows 8 is a very disciplined direction. Doesn't mean: a good direction, but a unified GUI and an answer to ARM-based tablets was the strategy. Good? The market will decide.

    Unified GUI?


    Oh wait ... Unified GUI? ... AAAAhahahahahahahahahahah!

    Man, fire up start screen, start typing 'print'. Nothing found. Go to desktop, go to control panel, in the search box type 'print'. Oh wow, it found printers and devices. Half of things on W8 are found in one place, half in another. Does that sounds unified? The amount of annoying crap in W8 is astounding. Open Office on W8 RT, and try to save a file. Good luck if you got fat fingers, UI elements are from desktop. Oops? Oh and don't even get me started on Windows Server 2012 UI.

    W8 is a Frankenstein OS, it is as far from Unified GUI as you can get.

    Disclosure: I use Windows Server 2012 as my desktop.

  • 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' `at' `'> 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, 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: []).

    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.

  • Re:Rats. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:42PM (#41968887) Journal

    I'd thought the same thing at first, but if that were the case, there would be a graceful transition of a few months at the very least, and he would've waited at least four to six months after release of something big like Windows 8 - if for no other reason than to insure his imprimatur is firmly on it (and on his resume). Instead we got this sudden no-warning bam-I'm-gone departure.

    Departures like that are tough on everyone involved (except the guy leaving), and has the potential to disrupt existing and ongoing projects (and is even harder on just-released ones).

    At lower levels, meh - one cog leaves, another is dropped in, with minimum disruption. At the higher levels, lots of bad mojo starts occurring when you rip out one guy and try to drop another in. At the Sinofsky/Ballmer levels? It's a delicate procedure that has the potential to get ugly in a hurry if you don't do it right.

  • by tazan ( 652775 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @01:34PM (#41969819)
    I accidentally opened a metro app and had to google how to close it. There is no excuse for that. But other than that I've been fine with just ignoring the metro part and treating it like a win 7 machine.
  • Re: So.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fuzznutz ( 789413 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @02:49PM (#41971197)

    apple is making more money than any corporation

    The last annual statements available doesn't even put them in the top 100 global companies by revenue. [] and here are the global 500 by profits []

    I do believe, however, that Apple is by far the biggest company by hype.

Air is water with holes in it.