Sinofsky Leaves Microsoft … And No One Seems Sad About It

The man who ran Windows (desktop), Steven Sinofsky, has left Microsoft, just a few weeks after the birth of his baby, Windows 8.  Mary Jo Foley reports that there might be some intrigue to this one.  Maybe Sinofsky wasn’t the easiest to work with? We have comments out there from the analysts claiming that Windows 8 will make little or no dent in the enterprise, so maybe Ballmer was upset with that?  Who knows – maybe Sinofsky did want to go skateboarding for a few years after being president of Windows?

What news to wake up to!  I checked through a night of tweets and let’s just say that there were very few tears.  I think that there was a good bit of schadenfreude in the social networks.  Certain things about Sinofsky rubbed people (the public, the media, and even Microsoft employees) the wrong way.  We expect Apple to be secretive and non-cooperative.  Microsoft has always been pretty open (too open if we judge it by the Longhorn experience) and programs such as beta and release candidate gave millions of people a chance to give input on product in the past.  The CIA-level secretive, closed, and TAP-only behaviour of the last 13 months is not what we expect from Windows in the Microsoft community.  There’s a huge eco-system of partner technologies (hardware and software) and legacy support is way more important to us, especially in the business.  The 10,000 word diatribes on the death of the start menu which boiled down to “we’re right and you’re wrong” followed by hundreds if not thousands of contradicting comments showed that Sinofsky didn’t listen, he dictated.

Maybe a strong dictator was needed.  Rome actually used to appoint dictators for the duration of a state emergency in the times before Caesar.  Perhaps Microsoft required someone strong to change the momentum of Windows that was threatened by devices that weren’t Windows PCs.  And maybe Sinofsky lived out his purpose at Microsoft.

What I do know is that a person I know predicted back in 2008 certain things about Sinofsky and how he would work that have since come true.

Does the future hold anything different?  I don’t expect that it does.  Mary Jo reports that Julie Larson-Green was “promoted to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering”.  Judging by Larson-Green’s background, she’s been a Sinofsky acolyte from his days in Office (before running Windows).  Expect the Windows 9 schedule to run as follows:

  • Announcement & Developer Preview at Build 2014
  • Customer Preview (not Beta with public feedback) in February/March 2015
  • Release Preview (not Release Candidate with public feedback) in May 2015
  • RTM in August 2015
  • GA in October 2015

Just sayin’.

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