Another day, another Sinofsky lieutenant leaving the Redmond software giant. As with Jon DeVaan, it’s not a surprise that George Grant is leaving as Terry Myerson forced him out and replaced him with Mike Fortin. Sinofsky and Grant go way back to the Office days in 1994. For those unfamiliar with Grant, a brief bio:
Grant George was the Corporate Vice President of Testing and Operations – Windows Experience Group, in the Platforms & Services Division. The Windows Experience Group is an integrated system of programs, services and solutions that largely make up the Windows Client experience – designed to work together to address a broad array of customer problems and needs. George is directly responsible test teams and test engineering as well as internal engineering operations in the Windows Experience Group. George has additional responsibility to drive engineering standards and methods with other leader-partners across the broader Windows teams (client, core and server). George joined Microsoft in June 1994 as test manager for the then newly-formed Office Product Unit, whose first shared code efforts were developed for Office 95. Since then, shared code has increased significantly in Office, and George has led convergence on common testing tools, test strategies, best practices and schedule and product delivery across all Office test teams to deliver Office 95, Office 97 and Office 2000 products. Many of George’s interests lie in the continued refinement of methods for driving the product development, test and release engineering methods and process, and in finding smarter and earlier ways to trap and remove product defects and instill earlier implementation of user feedback and improvement into the product development cycle. George joined the Windows Experience team in August of 2006. Prior to Microsoft, George spent 14 years in Silicon Valley as a test engineer and test manager at Tandem Computers. After Tandem, he helped start up Cooperative Solutions Inc. (a privately funded venture) to put test engineering and product release processes in place for an object-oriented application development and run-time environment product called Ellipse. He later joined Taligent, a joint venture of IBM Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Apple Computer, with similar responsibilities. George holds a bachelors degree in business administration and German with minor studies in computer science from California State University, Fullerton.
In a previous post we discussed the “functional triumvirate” meaning there will be heads of program management, test, and development. At the highest level, George Grant represented the “test” pillar of the hierarchy.
Sinofsky has been giving statements about his former colleagues, I wonder if they will team up and start a company:
“Grant always represented the pinnacle of customer focus,” Sinofsky said. “His contributions to both Windows and Office were without parallel in the engineering discipline of testing, automation and quality.”
A Microsoft representative confirmed George’s departure, which he announced earlier Tuesday in a memo to colleagues, saying, “We thank him for his contributions to the company and wish him all the best.”
I don’t want to spend too much time re-hashing what I’ve gone through in previous posts. But, we are seeing a purging of Sinofsky loyalists within Microsoft. Those who rose up in the ranks through the Office division and eventually took over the Windows team are now being forced out of their senior leadership positions and are leaving the company. Why fight to stay when a new CEO could come in and fire you anyways? Many of these individuals, DeVaan and Grant included, are already multi-millionaires and were not at the company for the money but the impact they continue to have on their billions of customers.
We are seeing history repeat itself at Microsoft. A few years back the Office team took over the Windows division, now that management is being kicked out, and the Windows Phone team is taking over Windows. We will see more people leave the company in the coming months.