Microsoft announced at the end of the day on Monday that Steven Sinofsky would leave the company, effective immediately. Sinofsky was the man in charge of both Windows 8 and the Surface tablets, as well as many previous successes at Microsoft.
According an email from Sinofsky to Microsoft employees:
With the general availability of Surface, I have decided it is time for me to take a step back from my responsibilities at Microsoft. I’ve always advocated using the break between product cycles as an opportunity to reflect and to look ahead, and that applies to me too./RT and
The timing of this, for some reason, seems too coincidental for me. This is the big moment for Microsoft, they bet everything on Windows 8. The pressure was on Sinofsky to bring Microsoft back to the forefront.
However, if Windows 8 had taken off in a big way, in terms of actual sales figures, and if developers really jumped onto the bandwagon, Sinofsky would have been a hero, not an exile.
Some Microsoft employees point out how hard it was to work with Sinofsky as one possible reason he left, or was forced out. I don't buy that. He had been working at Microsoft for 23 years and people probably found out he was a little hard to work with back then.
I feel that there is something else at play here, but who knows. Maybe he really did step down. Maybe the initial sales of Windows 8 and Surface tablets indicated low adoption rates and he felt like he should leave. Or maybe 23 years was enough for Sinofsky. All we have now are whispers and rumors, but I feel that there was more behind this decision than just Sinofsky's decision to:
"...seek new opportunities that build on these experiences."
Sinofsky's duties have been passed on to Julie Larson-Green, for Windows engineering, and to Tami Reller, who will lead business and marketing strategy for Windows including Surface and partner devices.