I saw earlier this week that the Windows Division President, Steven Sinofsky, left Microsoft on Monday, November 12. Considering his departure comes less than two weeks after the much-ballyhooed release of Microsoft’s flagship Windows 8 operating system, the timing is curious. Sinofsky also lead the Windows Live cloud apps initiative that competes with Google Apps, Yahoo and Apple’s iCloud, as well as the Microsoft Surface tablet. Julie Larson-Green, a long-time Microsofter since 1993 who has led initiatives such as Microsoft Office’s user experience revamp, will take over Sinofsky’s role.
I personally haven’t used Windows 8 and anecdotal evidence from colleagues who have used it backs up the reviews I’ve seen that the operating system might be good for touch-based form factors but lacks on the desktop, especially in the business enterprise. Is this the reason Sinofsky left Microsoft at such a critical time? I doubt this has much to do with the success of either Windows 8 or Surface since both products are so new to the market at this point. At least one blogger thinks the reason has to do with Sinofsky’s difficult working relationship with other Microsoft groups and this makes some sense given that MS is trying to get past its former highly-segmented initiatives to create a more unified experience more akin to Apple and Google experiences.
One thing’s for sure: it’ll be interesting to watch how the future unfolds for Microsoft as it tries to remain relevant in an ever-changing landscape and reclaim its hold as one of the most pioneering software companies in the world.