Steve Sinofsky, Surface champion, to leave Microsoft with immediate effect

In a surprise announcement, Microsoft has revealed that Windows unit president Steven Sinofsky is leaving the company, effective immediately.

According to AllthingsD’s sources the move come after growing tension between Sinofsky and other top executives. Sinofsky, though seen as highly talented, was viewed at the top levels as not the kind of team player that the company was looking for.

Sinofsky has recently been feted as an eventual successor to Steve Ballmer, and had a reputation for  fixing both Office and Windows 7, making sure both products shipped on time.

His duties will be divided between Julie Larson-Green who will head up the engineering side of Windows, while Tami Reller, who has had headed marketing and served as the unit’s CFO, will have responsibility for the business side of things. Both will report directly to CEO Steve Ballmer.

In a press release, Microsoft CEO Ballmer praised Steven’s work, but also talked about a need for “more integrated and rapid development cycles for our offerings.”

“I am grateful for the many years of work that Steven has contributed to the company,” CEO Steve Ballmer said. “The products and services we have delivered to the market in the past few months mark the launch of a new era at Microsoft. We’ve built an incredible foundation with new releases of Microsoft Office, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Microsoft Surface, Windows Server 2012 and ‘Halo 4,’ and great integration of services such as Bing, Skype and Xbox across all our products. To continue this success it is imperative that we continue to drive alignment across all Microsoft teams, and have more integrated and rapid development cycles for our offerings.”

Sinofsky,in the statement, said:

“It is impossible to count the blessings I have received over my years at Microsoft,” Sinofsky said. “I am humbled by the professionalism and generosity of everyone I have had the good fortune to work with at this awesome company.”

Microsoft is saying that the move was a mutual decision by Sinofsky and the company.

See the full letter, via The Verge, below:

Over the past few months we have delivered the foundation for a new era for Microsoft. From Office to Bing to Windows Phone and Windows Azure, to Xbox and of course Windows and Surface and everything in between, we’ve unleashed a huge wave of devices and services that people and businesses love. I simply couldn’t be more proud of the effort you have all put in to get us here and to set the foundation for our future. At the Windows launch in New York, at the Windows Phone event in San Francisco, and again at the Build event on Redmond campus, I was struck that while externally many people look at these events as the finish line, they really represent the starting line of a new era.

As we enter this new era, and with the successful launch of Windows 8 and Surface behind us, Steven Sinofsky has decided to leave the company. Steven joined Microsoft in 1989 as a software development engineer and has contributed to the company in many ways from his work as a technical advisor to Bill Gates, to leading the evolution of the Microsoft Office business, to his direction and successful leadership of Windows and Windows Live as well as Surface. I am grateful for the work that Steven has delivered in his time at our company. Effective immediately, Julie Larson-Green will lead Windows engineering. She will be responsible for all product development for Windows and Windows Live, in addition to Surface. Julie has been a stalwart leader of building compelling “experiences” from her time on Internet Explorer, through the evolution of Office and most recently to the re-imagination of Windows. Her unique product and innovation perspective and proven ability to effectively collaborate and drive a cross company agenda will serve us well as she takes on this new leadership role. All of the current Windows engineering teams will report into Julie, and Julie will report to me.

Tami Reller will lead business and marketing strategy for Windows including Surface and partner devices. She will provide broad stewardship to our PC marketing efforts while managing the line business functions for Windows. Her work on Windows since 2007 has been exemplary and her strong talents in working with internal groups and partners will also serve us well. Tami also will report to me.

We are facing a time of great opportunity. What we have accomplished over the past few years is nothing short of amazing, and I know we have more amazing in us. I am excited about our people, I am energized by our ability to change and grow, and I look forward to the success which lies ahead. Thank you for all you do, and please join me in congratulating our new leadership and celebrating all that we have accomplished so far.




  • Ocelotty1

    Damn; It’s the end of the World as we know it.

    The only truly talented manager & team leader/ organizer (even if he was a pain) I love MSFT products but this is one bone headed move. I see dark times ahead.

  • Jdrm03

    very crazy.

  • Luis

    Glad he is gone. He created that confusion called RT. Consumers are confused, business dont knwo what to do. It should had been one OS from the start, Windows 8 and a scaled down version of it for phones and tablets = WP8

    • The__Truth__Hurts

      You are only confused if you a$$ is smarter than your head.

      RT = can’t run older programs
      PRO = Can run older programs

      • Luis

        Dude, chill! I never said *I* was confused. I said consumers, the average people that actually spend money and buy things, the ones that don’t know any better or any worse.

        • jimski27

          You mean those average people who never install a program on their PC, except maybe an anti-virus app (Defender takes care of that) only after they get infected. The average users I know; browse the web, use Skype, post on FB, watch YouTube videos and maybe use email. I bet if you gave 1,000 average users an RT tablet, 950 wouldn’t know they were running a limited OS after a year.

          RT on a battery sipping, lower power CPU was a great idea. Much better than the alternative, a phone OS on a tablet. Love the capability of my Surface. Tweaked my Start screen tonight with some .lnk files I found in my Windows folder. Try doing that on a competing tablet.

  • Manu

    Wow. Huge loss I feel. The driving force behind Office 2007, Windows 7, and Windows 8? Huge loss.

    • arrow2010

      It’s an Apple world, nobody needs those grandpa products. iPhoto, iMovie, Garage Band, Aperature FTW!

  • JoshC

    This seems like a really dangerous move to make right now

  • grs_dev

    One of the few people at MS that knew what he was doing! This is concerning… I’ll wait just in case it’s another Elop situation. If the news that follows says, Steven Sinofsky takes the role of CEO at RIM then I might actually cheer!!!!

  • Windows 8

    This is a SAD move, Steven was one of the most admired persons by me and millions other MS users.
    I think Ballmer is to blame for this, but the situation might be clear in teh coming weeks and months…

  • iluvmsft

    Steven Sinofsky will go to Nokia.
    Microsoft will buy Nokia?

    there’s a bigger plan here, I bet.
    Nokia or other Big Microsoft acquisition,

  • n6600

    Note to Mr. Elop – Hire him immediately!

  • iFan

    Scott Forstall and Steve Sinofsky to join Google and create the Mother of all mobile OSs.

  • terry

    Joe Belfiore will be next.

  • markiz

    That can’t be the whole story..

  • Kitab

    Steven’s “Surfskating” shenanigans got him fired. Balmer got pissed:)

  • El Pato Sánchez!

    A new Steve in Apple?

  • the person

    W T F….
    Well maybe he and Forstall can start a new company called Applesoft.