Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ballmer decided Windows chief Sinofsky was too divisive

Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer decided he had had enough of Windows Division President Steven Sinofsky.

Sinofsky had developed a stellar reputation for shipping quality products on time. And he streamlined the management structure in the gigantic Windows division so that it hummed and produced the latest version of the company's flagship product on a tight deadline to solid, if not spectacular, reviews.

But a day after Sinofsky's sudden departure from Microsoft, it's also clear that Ballmer recognized that the Windows leader was too divisive of a figure to continue on at the software giant, where collaboration among groups is taking on increasing importance.

A Microsoft executive familiar with the thinking of senior management said there was no single event that led to Sinofsky's exit. Instead, relations between Ballmer and Sinofsky frayed as development on Windows 8 progressed.

Microsoft declined to make either Sinofsky or Ballmer available for comment. And while sources say the two executives had several disagreements in recent months, there was little chance any change would happen before Windows 8 launched on October 25.

The final decision about Sinofsky's exit was made shortly before the company announced the news Monday night. That's because Sinofsky was an officer of Microsoft, and regulatory rules require the company to immediately disclose material management changes. Even though Ballmer wanted Sinofsky out, the company said the decision was ultimately mutual...

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