Changes at Microsoft
Steven Sinofsky who headed up the teams working on Windows 7 and 8 has left Microsoft. On it’s own not necessarily that surprising, building an operating system like that is draining. Anyone who read Steve Levy’s Insanely Great will know how physically and emotionally burnt out the core team who developed the Macintosh were by the time the first computer shipped. Sinofsky’s departure after the launch of Windows 8 makes a lot of sense, it is no longer his baby but in the hands of the marketers and channel partners.
Most of the coverage has compared Sinofsky to Scott Forstall who departed Apple and the fact that external pundits thought Sinofsky was future-CEO material at Microsoft.
There are some interesting things that have come out of the role change:
- Sinofsky’s role has been replaced by two women which is a major step change for a male dominated industry, neither of which had much of a profile previously, which gives an idea of how fast this was planned
- Steve Ballmer’s quote in the press release announcing the departure talked about the company’s need to “drive alignment across all Microsoft teams, and have more integrated and rapid development cycles for our offerings,”. Eco-systems are becoming more important and the stove pipe mentality of different software and services divisions don’t make sense in product development. All of this is ironic given that Sinofsky was widely considered to be responsible for pushing Ray Ozzy out of Microsoft and the Ballmer quote channeled the essence of Ozzy as seen through a business book
In terms of products, Windows 8 is going to set user experience templates for a while in Microsoft applications so Sinofsky is leaving behind a lengthy legacy.