Steven Sinofsky defended

Windows 8 Launch

In the wake of the sudden departure of Steven Sinofsky he has been painted as somewhat of a megalomaniac by various sources.

Suril Amin has been one of the few to defend him, and posted this comprehensive defence of what he paints as a rather great man who’s departure is a loss to Microsoft.

He writes:

I’ll try to keep this short as my English is not great (it’s my second language), but I felt I had to write something about this. Context is important, that is to say, it is important to look at history and try to see why things happened, and not repeat the same mistakes again.

I have seen a lot of coverage about Sinofsky’s departure that has been very biased. It’s pretty clear that bloggers and certainly the Technorati did not like Sinofsky at all. The reason for this is quite simple, he took Microsoft been being too open and transparent to a Microsoft where information is not disseminated so indiscriminately. Apple has always been this way, so the individuals covering Apple expect this and do not really complain about this. In fact, being secretive has benefited Apple very much in creating crazy amounts of hype. To understand why Sinofsky did this, you have to take a look back at Windows Vista when it was code named Longhorn and put things in context and perspective.

Longhorn was a very ambitious project whose development dates back to 2001, shortly after the release of Windows XP. Longhorn was originally slated to bring a ton of new features including WinFS, vector graphics, and radical new sidebar to replace the taskbar, and significant changes to the kernel. It also would bring technologies named ‘Avalon and Indigo’ which eventually ended up as a much different technology called what we now know as Windows Presentation Foundation. Longhorn was headed up by Jim Allchin who showed off a lot of what was planned for Longhorn at PDC 2003. People were genuinely excited about what Microsoft was doing at this time, and Microsoft was the dominant technology company at this time too. What we later found out was the demos showed at PDC 2003 were faked demos and concept videos, and not real code running. If you look at Microsoft demos today, they always emphasize that this is real code running on a real machine in real time. As we would find out, Microsoft overpromised and would severely under-deliver. Over the next two years Jim Allchin would royally fuck up the development of Longhorn. I remember installing Longhorn Build 4074 in 2004, and knowing that this project was in serious trouble. In 2004 Microsoft decided to reset the project and essentially start from scratch. For all intents and purposes it took 2 years to develop Windows Vista and it was released in 2006. Jim Allchin retired at the end of the development of Vista. Morale of Microsoft enthusiasts/fanboys was at an all-time low by time Vista was released. An initially super-ambitious release was now much more mediocre and was plagued with a ton of hardware issues because the driver model was changed. Vista was an okay product, but it stopped being defended among Microsoft supporters and this led to massive perception problems. Apple starting to rise around this time too with iPod now gaining serious traction. Microsoft failed to respond to Vista criticism; marketing has always been a problem at Microsoft.

Now to Sinfosky. Sinofsky joined Microsoft in 1989 (the year I was born!) at the age of 23, straight after receiving a Master’s degree in computer science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He rose to power by catching the attention of Bill Gates and becoming a technical assistant. He was partially responsible for Gates releasing the “Internet Tidal Wave” memo in 1995 (Bing it). A litter later, Sinofsky threatened to quit if he was not given a desired assignment. Gates said that he couldn’t imagine Microsoft without Steven. As consolation, Microsoft’s leadership at the time put some other products under Sinofsky’s control. (From sfgate article) This ultimately led to Sinofsky becoming in charge of Office, starting with Office 2000. He became known for getting office released office on time, Office 2000, then Office XP, Office 2003, and finally Office 2007. Interesting to note, Stephen Elop (now CEO of Nokia) oversaw Office after Sinofsky left to take over Windows. Sinofsky’s first lieutenant Julie-Larson Green rose up with Sinofsky, and was responsible for introducing the ribbon in Office 2007. Steve and Julie did have a relationship for a little bit, but that’s largely irrelevant.

So, now Office 2007 has been released, Jim Allchin has retired, and we now have Bill Gates saying he will step down in 2008. Bill Gates chose Ray Ozzie to be his replacement. Ray Ozzie proved to be disastrous and had no vision for consumers. Ballmer has been CEO for a couple years now at this time. With Microsoft not wanting the next operating system to take 5 years to be released and clear hole in leadership, Steven Sinofsky stepped up to filled the gap. He was especially valuable because he had a proven track record of getting things done on time. In addition he had overseen an ambitious version of Office that was just released (Office 2007) which had paid off well.

In 2008 Sinofsky wrote a memo called Translucency vs. Transparency in a blogpost. This really got bloggers pissed off. And we went from a company that poured its heart out about Vista, to a company that basically said nothing about what it was going to do about Windows 7. Sinfosky choose the philosophy of under-promising and over-delivering. Sinofsky fired a bunch of people when he took over the Windows division, many who had led to the fuck-up that Vista was. He also brought a lot of his own people from the Office side into the Windows division. Sinofsky also eliminated a lot of the middle management. This led to a lot of more senior executives either leaving Microsoft, or going to either Windows Azure or Windows Entertainment (Xbox) side of the company. Notably, J Allard and Robbie Bach stepped down in 2010, many said this was related to Sinofsky but this simply is not the case. Zune failure and a billion dollar right off due to overheating problems with xbox hardware contributed to them leaving.

Sinofsky ended up delivering a great product with Windows 7 and more importantly it was on time. He brought a lot of changes to the start menu and how the taskbar works. Sinofsky continued to rise and gain power within Microsoft as the development of Windows 8. He and Julie-Larson Green took a serious look at where the world was going, and decided to radically overhaul Windows. What we now have is Windows 8, which I’m sure all of you have been following. Sinofsky also made many tough decisions which I think would not have a been made without him. First, he did not allow a tablet version of the Windows Phone operating system. Tablet sales have always been a subset of the phone sales. More iphones sold than ipads, more android phones sold than android tablets, and more blackberrys sold than playbooks. A very small number of Windows Phones had been sold, an even smaller number of Windows Phone Tablets would have been sold. I’m sure it would have been a great product, but would ultimately be a waste of resources. Windows Phone 7/7.5 also decided to go with managed code rather than native code. In theory, this sounds great and there is a lot of promise to it, but it has not worked out well. This is part of the reason Windows Phone has failed to attract many mobile developers who write native code applications on iOS. The windows phone team implemented technologies such as silverlight, .net, xna as their development platform. Sinofsky decided not to go with these and was ultimately correct. The Windows Phone team switched over to the full Windows 8 kernel with Windows Phone 8, and you can now write applications in native code. This was also partially made possible by Sinofsky’s work with porting the kernel to ARM. Xna is now also gone for game development going forward, and I think this speaks to the speculation that Xbox.vnext will also be based on the Windows 8 kernel. In fact David Cutler is now on the Xbox team (please read Showstoppers by Gary Pascal). Sinofsky along with Jule-Larson Green were also very strong supporters of the Microsoft Surface and ensured that it was kept a secret.

So, now we go to coverage from the Technorati regarding Steven Sinofsky. I’m a MSFT fanboy, and am generally a fan of Paul Thurrott, Mary-Jo Foley, Peter Bright, etc. However, they have been absolutely atrocious when it comes to covering Steve Sinofsky. The hate Sinofsky because he has not openly given them information about Windows 7 and Windows 8 development and decided to keep more things secret. This last week on Paul Thurrott’s two podcasts he openly admitted he hates Sinofsky because it made it harder for him to write his book. Sinofsky did not give Thurrott internal builds of Windows 8, so he could write his book more easily. Thurrott also believes he is entitled to get information from Microsoft because he writes about Microsoft and helps consumers with technical problems. I am sure many of you remember Thurrott freaking out about Microsoft removing aero glass from Windows even though it was the right decision due to battery life. Well it now turns out that Thurrott was only angry about it because he was forced to re-take screenshots for his book because now there was no aero. Microsoft is a private corporation that can do what it wants and Thurrott is not owed anything. Mary-Jo Foley also said she hates Sinofsky because he had her blacklisted from Microsoft. Bloggers may be financially better off without Sinofsky because they can get more information and write more blog posts with more access to the company. Lot of traffic also went to Sinofky’s own blog, instead of other blogs. The pundits also say Sinofsky was hard to work with an arrogant. It’s clear they’ve never worked for a corporation. Well Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were also arrogant, condescending and tough to work with. Leaders have to make tough decisions and this will always piss some people off. Other complaints include that he did not embrace Silverlight. Silverlight was a bastardized version of WPF which was too resource intensive. It’s dying. Why embrace something that is dying? Also the pundits suggest Scott Guthrie would be a great replacement for Sinofsky. Are you fucking kidding me? We need a person in charge who will fight for consumers and make radical changes, someone with a vision as Sinofsky had.

Sinofsky has been nothing but excellent for Microsoft. He has fought for consumers and made the tough decisions that others would not have. Sinofsky made the trains run on time. He embraced the Metro design language, borrowing from the Zune team and Windows Phone team. It is quite clear that Sinofsky quit. I believe he wanted more power or certain decisions to go his way that did not and he ultimately decided to quit. Ballmer has been great at protecting himself and his position of CEO over the last decade. I do not think he wanted Sinofsky to gain more power and potentially become CEO down the road. It’s telling that he split Sinofsky’s position to two women who I think he can easily control. I think Sinofsky’s influence and legacy on the company will remain even though he is not there anymore. More things are going to be kept secret until it is the appropriate time to release the information. Microsoft will also get more and more into hardware. I believe we will see Sinofsky back a few years from now as CEO of Microsoft.

Edit: Should also be noted that Thurrott was snubbed for an early SurfaceRT review and has been slamming it ever since. What a crybaby.

Fuck, well I wrote a very long incoherent rambling mess, but I had to get this off my chest. I’m posting this anyways; even though nobody will probably read this. Lol.

tl;dr: Steven Sinofsky rocks and was good for Microsoft! I also believe he quit on his own accord. Bloggers hate him because they had a direct financial loss due to having less information about the company and ignore the good he did.

P.S. Love/Hate relationship with Sinofsky and bloggers can be traced way back to 2007 starting with Long Zheng

See the thread at Reddit here.

  • kanchirk

    good point. thx for sharing.

  • surilamin

    Well thanks for posting this. :)

  • WhoiamisnotImportant Mclaurin

    Huge loss for MSFT.

  • Lasp24

    “ill keep this short” … anyways, yeah Sinofsky will be missed

  • Not Steve

    I was only a few reports down from Sinofsky and actually had the pleasure of working with him in person. Always very professional and energetic. Nothing unreasonable for a corporate environment. And definitely nothing like what people compare to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates (check out “BillG review” on the Internet for what THAT was like).

  • dfbsdfbdaadfbsd

    At first glance I thought it said, “Steven Sinofsky Dead”.
    Had a bit of a heart in mouth situation there.

  • sgpr73

    Well, I am not a MSFT fanboy and dont have a clue who runs what in MSFT. But one thing is clear; if someone who had been behind Windows 8 is leaving, it is certainly huge loss for MSFT. Since Windows Phone 7 and after seeing Windows 8, I feel good about MSFT which was not the case earlier.

  • the person

    I’m GLAD, ELATED that he pissed bloggers off. The vast majority are not worth pissing on if they were on fire. He is cut from the same cloth as Steve Jobs and others. FU and your petty click baiting article BS. I wish he would turn around now and sue all those rags for libel. They have defamed him over and over for weeks.

    • AS147

      Well said sir. The mountainous volume of negative MS crap they have been pumping out lately beggars belief. I am not sure many companies could survive such an avalanche.

    • Ewinxp3

      Thurrott and Foley were a disgrace this week on Windows Weekly. They are nothing but character assassins.

      • the person

        there are legal recourses for that sort of behavior.

  • Bob

    Agree with most of that. On his worst day he wasn’t a 1/10th the asshole Gates was. And the company was never better run than under Bill. Don’t think we’ll see Steven back though, in any capacity.

    On the blogger side, I still have respect for Bright. He just legitimately has a different vision for the future. MJF has no vision; it was all just personal. And then there’s Thurrott. I don’t get it. He seemed to by and large be on board with W8 and RT. Then he goes and pulls today’s stunt with the insider says “sales are way below forecast” and then pukes all over the OS. WTF? Even if the former were true, what did he and his “source” hope to achieve by breaking that news? I’ve already seen it picked up across the web, which is the last thing a launch this important needs.

    • PhilVoid

      Yep, I saw that too. Agreed, .. WTF? My only thought after reading/listening to that.. he’s taken leave of his senses after years of semi-abuse to recoupe a sense of self, by striking back. I think he’ll get some rest after such a time, and regain composure. At least I hope so. Paul is one of my ‘go to’ sources for great information.

    • AS147

      My estimation of Paul and Mary Jo has fallen through the floor. Never again will I have the respect their posts. MJ was screaming through joy that Steve had left MS !? And why pray tell? Because she didn’t like him! WTF!??
      That was one of the worst vodcasts I had ever seen. Thankfully it was he first and last one of theirs I will ever watch.

      • mark

        Yeah, her reaction was embarrassing. I too lost a lot of respect for her.

    • Scotty Le

      I don’t quite get what you mean by “the company was never better run than under Bill”.
      Bill rocks with XP, i believe Vista was some sort of “hurry-up-we-are-late” product from MS just like the author of this post said.
      But yeah… it all comes to one question: Why the F everyone who defend for customers have to leave company… First was Robert Bowling from Infinity Ward (just some one i care about) and now Steven…

  • PhilVoid

    “He embraced the Metro design language, borrowing from the Zune team and Windows Phone team.” Borrowing from teams, or burying teams.. big difference of opinion. With manage up or manage out a mantra, you lose good talent. Especially if you do not qualify with the prelude of that mantra, “A good manager can…”. No good dev works their ass off to build great code, to be simply disregarded and belittled by ANY management, at the snap of the fingers. You’re view is telling, in that it points out the ‘need for secrecy’, but only if Apple = Microsoft. It does not. Sinofsky is not Jobs. MSFT is not APPL. A great manager notes the differences, and works within their given realm, they do not attempt to recreate reality to fit there hopes/dreams.

    • guest

      Zune buried itself, unfortunately, and the phone team is still separate. So “borrowed” is correct. I agree that MS is not Apple and that trying to be is a mistake. But secrecy is still important. MS aired on the side of being far too open previously. That’s bad from a competitive perspective and can also be bad if customers start planning for something that doesn’t make the cut. Yes, you can air on the side of too secret too, but let’s not load that all on Sinofsky. Look at the phone team’s recent WP8 SDK stupidity. Where I really take issue with you is the assertion that Zune/WP had viable answers for the next OS pretty much written. They didn’t even have the answer to their own next version needs. UI/UX, yes. Architecture, no. So forget scaling to creation tablets through desktops. I’m not saying the company wouldn’t have been better off with more collaboration between groups. But where was Ballmer? Gates? The board? The biggest mistake they made was not letting OEMs load WP7 on consumption tablets right away when iPad hit. That could have been a decent stop gap until W8, and might have made it more difficult for Apple to run away with the market. If Sinofsky was a big advocate of that, then he certainly deserves blame. But even more should go to Ballmer, Gates, and the board for agreeing to it. The company one again underestimated Apple badly and paid a terrible price. Now they have to focus on climbing out of the hole they dug.

      • PhilVoid

        I’ll concede that there is no need to (nor should there have ever been the possibility to ever) place the blame squarely upon Sinofsky. I’ll even grant him credit where credit is due, regarding Office wins, and even Windows management bail-out mid-Vista timeframe. My point is, he took upon himself the unenviable task of foreseeing the future and aligning Windows towards a goal. Then, he did some things very wrong. He brought his own devs into Windows, pretended those (albeit Office) devs knew Windows, and then pushed aside every idea from any other team (be it good or bad idea). I only imagine that your question regarding “where was Gates” is for show, we all know where his was, helping the planet via accrued wealth. Ballmer was doing what only some good managers do.. avoiding micromanagement. The board? LOL, awaiting sales figures to decide if they should short/long their buy-in. Zune, in no way, buried itself. Had there been dime one spent in advertising, it could have at least survived, but to what end? Not even Apple actually makes money from MP3 players/streaming, to this day. The only happy ending would have been with a ‘halo effect’ upon other Microsoft products. That does NOT mean their vision, UI, and execution provided any less of a h/w, s/w product than Apple. It is still viewed as a better product than even the latest iPod offerings, by those that place value over market share. I also understand your ideals of secrecy. I mean, after all, if Apple can hold secrets until the day of release, that should be easy and beneficial for Microsoft as well, right? Wrong. The client base for Microsoft is completely different than that of Apple. Large corporations, and even governments depend of knowing the roadmap of Microsoft to plan years ahead, for budget and spending. Apple clients, as even the late great Jobs has stated, are not corporations or industry, but instead, consumers. As such, consumers have much shorter, if any, budget forecasting involvement. Doubt that summation? Look no further than the many corporations still moving from XP to Windows 7, as IT ramps up, and these larger corporations reluctantly dredge forward. To his credit, Sifofsky took the reigns of Vista and put in place strict timelines and infrastructure. To his discredit, he continued those same limitations of freedom to rule during the inception of Windows 8, and thusly limited it’s scope to that of his ‘blessed few’ developers, damn the works or collaboration with any/all other groups.

        • AS147

          I agree with a lot of what you have written but think you may be a bit off regarding secrecy. MS absolutely need to define their roadmap for the enterprises and a lot of their product also goes to the retail consumer so it I can see how you would have thought secrecy for MS is not workable. However the rise in importance of the consumer market has meant that in the end user service space (music, devices, entertainment etc) it has become the driving force and it eventually permeates to the Enterprise space (users BYO etc.)
          Therefore keeping secretive about this part of the business is not only possible without huirting the enterprise (server based) space but is absolutely vital as the cnsumer space thrives on the buzz from the secrecy.

        • guest

          My question about Gates was real. I know what else he’s doing and it’s admirable. But he still Chairman of MS and that’s a very important job, particularly when Steveb is not a technical person. If Bill can’t dedicate the time to do that properly he should resign. There’s nothing worse than having a part-time Chairman, who everyone else on the board differs to, making major decisions that profoundly affect the company, like should we walk Sinofsky or Ballmer? And it’s not micromanagement for Ballmer to have been engaged in W8’s development. He concedes this was MS’s riskiest best ever, which it is. Do you think maybe that gives him the right and duty to know everything that’s going on, particularly when the company’s future is on the line? Yes, Zune buried itself. In every way imaginable. And yes, providing more competition then might have slowed Apple down considerably, since at the time that represented the bulk of their revenue and profit. MS’s customer base is different from Apple’s. What you don’t get is that Sinofsky, with Ballmer’s apparent backing, was fighting to position the company for winning its next billion customers, not it’s last billion. They’re counting on the slow pace of enterprises to give them some breathing room to pull this off. Half are still running XP. It will be years more before 80% are on W7. Meanwhile the majority of growth is in consumer, as well as tablets in the enterprise. In the third world, many may never buy a PC. Their first computer will be a smartphone or a tablet.

  • Emi Cyberschreiber

    what the guy wrote was ok, until he started with the Ballmer protecting CEO crap. if Bill gates didn’t want Ballmer, ballmer would be gone by now. Gates is no stupid man (thats why he is rich the way he is) so he would have fired Ballmer if he saw something wrong.
    i mean come on… 2 women ballmer can control?… oh god… but before that it wasn’t so bad why he liked Sinosky. actually i understand alot of his points like about Thurrot and Foley, they dont get information, then they dont like the person who block that information.

    yesterday i was listehning to Windows Weekly and i really closed it in the middle of the video. because they talked so much crap, specially paul thurrot. like the “who is Andrew Lees? who is?” i mean… now everyone has to be famous to be in important positions at Microsoft? really who is paul thurrot? if he wasn’t making stupid rumors and always complaning none would know about him. so only because he doesn’t know someone now he cant be in Microsoft in important roles?
    Thurrot everyday has less sources and more crap to spread. and only because Sinofsky didn’t take him to drink a coffee and didn’t smile at him, well he didn’t like sinofsky.

    anyway, i dont think Sinofsky gone, will affect much next Microsoft next releases. they might change a Little but the vision Microsoft wanted started with Windows Phone, not Windows 8.

    and i also have to complain about something people like this boy think and i disagree. why Sinofsky as CEO? does he know what being a ceo means, or why Ballmer is ceo and not other person?
    but anyway. from all the long text he wrote i kinda just found “ballmer protecting ceo seat Project”, to be the really really really silly thing to think.

    • PhilVoid

      I agree, at least in part, about the two women Ballmer can control. What year is this writer living in, anyways? What a sexist remark, so telling of his views. Welcome to 1950’s asshole (not you Emi, the OP). I just looked at my calendar, and it’s 2012. BS like this, and race/gender baiting still exists? My opinion of the OP has been solidified with one simple, sickening statement.

  • Chris Georgeson

    LOL, listen this is a great post and all but if he was truly great Ballmer would have kept him, more C level execs would have fought to keep him. The truth is there is a time and place for people like Sinofsky and there is time to ring them in and say “Hey you are making people’s lives hell!” That is a big deal by the way. MS may be a huge corporation with lots of people willing and wanting to work with them but word of mouth gets around and that is bad.

    Secrecy IS important, until it isn’t. Thurrott has valid points to be upset with MS. MS should have been more transparent with him…why? Well how about because everyone was bashing Windows 8 and saying how awful it is. What does Paul do, he writes a freaking book about Windows 8 showing people how to use it…. how great it is, and why it’s worth upgrading to! He told this to MS during the BUILD conference when they first showed off Windows 8 and they said “Great…keep this tablet so you have a reference design to work off of.” Meaning they endorsed his decision to do this and encouraged it.

    So lets get this straight too (about the Surface RT review) Paul has said it’s not great…. yet. RT could be the future but we live in the present and it has some very real limitations right now. Time will possibly fix this. That is not a scathing review…. that is honesty. We may not agree with all of Paul’s opinions but I have to agree that RT is very limiting but it’s possible that it maybe great for others.

    How about we not forget about this secrecy thing when it comes to explaining the difference between RT and Windows 8 …. MS has done a pretty crappy job at that. Who was in charge of that by the way… oh yea the man they fired.

    So lets recap…. Sinofsky was great for MS, he got products out on time, trimmed the fat off of Vista, which led to Windows 7, re-imagined Windows which led to Windows 8 but meanwhile behind the scenes pissed a lot of people off with his large ego and ability to pit teams against each other.

    How long can you be an ass that creates a hostile working environment before it catches up to you?

    • Torgeir Lognvik

      I don’t know the story, but MS was downward spiralling after Vista, but after Win7 it’s been better than ever. Even Woz acknowledges that. You do need to break some eggs to make an omelet. Large corporations tend to act as extremely old people and they crave ballbusters

      • Mike Brown

        It was a power struggle, Sinofsky played his hand too quickly and Ballmer called his bluff…end of story.

    • AS147

      The truth is often overblown and I suspect that is the case here. If he was as much of an @rse as stated by the popular press he wouldn’t have made it so far within MS nor would have have lasted so long.
      Case in point, the hullabaloo about the RT is blown out of proportion. The iPad is significantly more limited than the Macbooks but they sold bucket loads. There is nothing wrong with MS doing the same. The fact that it has many more capabilities than tablets from the competition is a good thing not a negative one.
      Yes they could have got a better explanation out there but on the whole people are not stupid and they are more tech savvy every day. They will get it!

  • Pierre Venescar

    It’s tough for me to try to see someone who is as good as @Stevesi

  • Jason Choi

    dropping f bombs were not necessary. Maybe in his country, wherever the hell he is from, is okay.

  • Andrew Lee

    Very eager to see back Steven as a MS CEO, am in fucking love Win8

  • WillemEvenhuis

    Who is Amin?

  • Myclevername

    l have no idea why Sinfosky quit/got fired. I doubt very few people really do. Hell, I was fired and I still don’t know why. But this article? had a few weird toss outs in it.

    Author was born in 1989 so that makes him 23. Young.
    This was brief?

    “He made the trains run on time” is a common reference to Adolph Hitler so what does that tell you?

    “Ballmer replaced him with two women because they would be easier to control” is a really bad thing to write and very sexist and very uninformed. Clearly the author has never tried to control a woman. It’s simply not possible.

    Maybe younger minds will have more of a say at Microsoft now and maybe we’ll see some more visionary and groundbreaking programming and products coming from Redmond? I have no idea what this means for Microsoft. I don’t think any one does. Let’s see where Sinofsky lands. He probably couldn’t go work anywhere else without Microsoft giving the approval. He knows too much about Microsoft.
    You have to believe it was pretty damn serious in order for them to part ways is he was, indeed, so important to the Windows team.

    • guest

      Mussolini, actually. But it’s now a common English expression.

  • TedTheHead

    And who the fuck are you?

  • guest

    I can’t believe the criticisms some are leveling here.

    He was an ass and created a hostile working environment. Then how come he was so successful so many times?
    His ego ruled What other MS President give his people more direct visibility than he did via the Engineering Windows 7 blog?
    He brought his own people into Windows Duh. When you’re called in to to fix a disaster on a tight timeframe, you don’t waste time selecting from amongst the people who failed. You bring people with you who you trust.
    He created a vision for the future and stuck to it What was he meant to do, not have one or create one aimed at the past?
    He excluded certain technology which alienated some Yeah, that’s the difference between someone who ships products and Longhorn.
    He didn’t collaborate well with other groupsBecause MS is such a poster child for that historically?
    He didn’t coddle Mary Jo or ThurrottWho gives a sh*t?

    I don’t agree with everything I’ve seen on W8, WinRT, and Surface. All need work, clearer marketing messages, and more apps, which is disappointing after three years of effort and may impact their acceptance even more than the radical UI change alone was going to. But then look at the scope of what he and MS were trying to pull off. It’s not Sinofsky’s fault that MS found itself so far behind the competition. It’s Ballmer’s. And if you were running Windows, would you really want to tie your division – and the company’s future – to Bing or the interactive entertainment business? MSN/Bing has been one gigantic fup. And Xbox, despite its market success, doesn’t own the living room, increasingly looks unlikely to, and is still negative financially over its lifetime. Ballmer, for obvious reasons, wants to pretend that’s not the case. But why would Sinofsky? Why would the President of MBD? Or Servers? Those three groups have done the heavy lifting for the last decade while Online and IEB were meant to provide for MS’s future. Instead, they’ve been black holes for money and even today either detract badly or barely contribute to company profitability. Wouldn’t that piss you off and be a huge concern?

    I share concerns that he may have relied too much on telemetry and not enough on how people react to the technology emotionally. The WP group has a better handle on the latter. There are some weird and odd choices at this point. But I’m not privy to all the background or tradeoffs that were required, and neither are most here. He was far from perfect, but he was the best they had. And you don’t pull your star quarterback in the 3rd quarter of the Super Bowl, when you’re already behind by four touchdowns, and replace him with your second string because you suddenly decided he was a prima donna.

    • guest

      Engineering Windows 7 blog -> Windows 8

  • Davey

    Great post. Not often I have the attention span to read through such a long post, but that was really really interesting. I have seriously been wondering why the “Technorati’s” have been so ridiculously anti Windows 8, particularly their reviews & posts about Surface (upon which I am writing this comment). To hear that it might all be personal makes a bit of sense.

  • dajunga

    I’m glad you called out Thurrott and Foley – It’s pretty clear their motives were hugely selfish. The effects of Sinofsky’s departure on Microsoft as a company is secondary to how it affects their pockets and probably as much or more, their egos.

  • Rambaldi

    Completely agree with your post. I think Mr. Sinofsky’s track record speaks for himself. Windows was going off course when he took over Division and put it back on track. And that people were pissed off and left the Company is nothing to be surprised or worried about, it happens in every company, and some of them would have left anyway. Generally, I also like reading Paul and Mary Jo, but their reaction on this subject has been terribly childish.