Report: Bill Gates agreed Sinofsky should leave Microsoft

Steven Sinofsky's seemingly abrupt departure from Microsoft on Monday was apparently not so sudden inside the company. A new report claims that plans for Sinofsky to leave Microsoft, after heading up the development of Windows 8, was in the works for the last several weeks.

AllThingsD.com also reports, via unnamed sources, that in the end it came down to Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. He apparently backed the decision made by CEO Steve Ballmer for Sinofsky to leave.

The story also repeats what has also been reported about Sinofsky in the past; namely that he was hard to work with. One unnamed source stated, "There was Steve’s way or no other way." Another source was quoted as saying, "He had no factions, except those who worked for him. He picked a lot of fights."

Over the years, those fights have caused a number of high level executives at Microsoft to leave the company. In those cases, Ballmer apparently took Sinofsky's side, but now it looks like Ballmer wanted other people who would try to work well together for the next generation of Windows development

Those people are in fact two women, Julie Larson-Green and Tami Reller, who now have the task of not just taking over the Windows business, but also apparently trying to mend some fences inside and outside of Microsoft.

Source: AllThingsD.com | Image via Steven Sinofsky

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TechGuyPA said,
OK Guys for those who are complaining (B*tching) about the start menu

The start menu is just one of a long list of troubles. For example Aero. windows 8 + start menu = windows 7 with aero disabled.

Oh wait, are you for real still b*tching about that stupid start button? Unbelievable.

Also unbelievable how you blindly take these *rumors* as facts.

bviktor said,
Oh wait, are you for real still b*tching about that stupid start button? Unbelievable.

Also unbelievable how you blindly take these *rumors* as facts.

i think its safe to say we're all tired of talking about the start button..
am i missing some thing i just read all the comments and your the only one talking about it.

Like with most companies. If you make the people around you mad and start to believe they can't work with you. You are safe to an extent. If you start making upper management mad and believing they can't work with you. You are good as gone.

There's an old saying in the corporate world. Always treat everyone with respect no matter what title they have. Cause in the end. There's that possibility they will become your boss...and trust me..they remember.

neonspark said,
too bad. he was the only guy that turned MSFT around. now they are going back to glacial mode.

Not at all...and they haven't been in glacial mode for quite some time. Did StevenSi do some good work? Of course. Is he responsible for everything that has happened in the last several years? Far from it.

neonspark said,
too bad. he was the only guy that turned MSFT around. now they are going back to glacial mode.

Depends on what you consider the 'turnaround'. If its just Windows 7 then he gets a large share of the credits. If its also the new modern UI, Microsoft's entertainment focus (incl. Xbox services), Windows Phone, unifying services, etc then no.

There is a lot of cool stuff comming from Microsoft, not all equally profitable at the moment but they're very active. If they do go down under then at least its not without a fight. That's more then could be said a few years ago. Even Windows 7, as succesful as it was, isn't going to keep Microsoft competitive in the new consumer market.

neonspark said,
too bad. he was the only guy that turned MSFT around. now they are going back to glacial mode.

Microsoft progress was in spite of Steve... He didn't make Windows 7, he dropped into the Windows group long after Windows 7 was baked.

He has been the 'problem' over the years with numerous projects that have caused problems inside Microsoft over and over again.

Examples:

Office - if you wonder why the Office team DID NOT use the Windows common dialogs, and recreated their own. If you wonder why Office ditched integrated Ink and TabletPC support before it had time to take off. If you wonder why Office's Ribbon, which was a good idea, did not originally have 'touch' features built into the concept, thank Steve. He was anti-TabletPC and anti-touch.

Even Windows 7, it was a brilliant touch platform, that was squashed by Steve. Even today, you can take the Windows 7 desktop and advanced settings of the UI metrics and turn Windows 7 into something that works and looks a lot like ANdroid or iOS that even makes existing applications extremely touch friendly. This was discouraged, and even in the desktop mode of Windows 8, some of these features were removed because Steve was insanely caught up in his ego.

Windows 7 should have been the 'touch' revolution for the PC and should have been when Touch laptops and monitors were all the rage. They killed the marketing and push as a Touch UI and features that helped the touch UI. Look at the Touch Addon pack for Windows 7, it was hard to get, and not included FOR NO REASON.

As much as like the paradigm shifts in Windows 8, by taking concepts from the Windows Phone division, there is still work to be done in getting the Microsoft based Apps on par with the Windows Phone Apps, and there is no reason the main OS should be based around Music, Video Apps that are inferior to the Windows Phone Versions.

If you want to see where Windows 8 got the good ideas and the team that put together the basis of the majority of changes at Microsoft, look at Joe Belfiore.

Windows Phone was done well and they even created a new platform model in the process. Windows 8 wasn't crap because of the borrowed ideas from the Phone team, not because of Steve that created more road blocks for touch and pen adoption in Microsoft while working with Office and other projects than probably anyone outside Ballmer himself that supported him.

As Windows Phone and Windows 8 are hitting the market and the feedback and the refining is happening, and the internal teams are finally getting a chance to be heard and say, look the Apps for Windows 8 are not what they need to be, the disconnect of integration is a problem and the Windows Phone team has been blocked and essentially has been pulling teeth just to get the client software integration they want from the Windows Team was a mess. Horror stories go and on and on.

It was time for him to go, he and Gates fought over the direction of Office before his departure, and the same 'I know best' crap was running its course with Ballmer realizing he had made a big mistake in supporting Steve on things he just plain got wrong.

neonspark said,
too bad. he was the only guy that turned MSFT around. now they are going back to glacial mode.

honestly, i don't think sinofsky is responsible for all the good things ms has been doing lately.

I think Sinofsky is very talented and that the approach of aligning all Microsoft divisions towards a more common, integrated goal is the right thing to do. Previous to his efforts there were departments working in the same thing in different ways and many great products that didn't integrate with other MS products.

But if the reports are true, a person that wants to have everything 'his way or no way' can drive away valuable talent. We've seen many talented people leave Microsoft and some of them we know had clashes with Sinofsky. So it is is good thing if he was let go.

However, I cannot support Ballmer's apparent inability to resolve the issue in a more discreet or smooth way and shareholders will be livid to see their stock go don't just because Ballmer could not negotiate a smoother transition. You can't just fire a person of the importance of Sinofsky and expect there will be no consequences.

Before this I still thought that Ballmer was getting better, but now I think he should retire and let some younger and fresh faces lead Microsoft. The simply fact that is easy to imagine the stock going up on Ballmer's retirement is an indicator that his time is running out.

Charles Keledjian said,
I think Sinofsky is very talented and that the approach of aligning all Microsoft divisions towards a more common, integrated goal is the right thing to do. Previous to his efforts there were departments working in the same thing in different ways and many great products that didn't integrate with other MS products.

But if the reports are true, a person that wants to have everything 'his way or no way' can drive away valuable talent. We've seen many talented people leave Microsoft and some of them we know had clashes with Sinofsky. So it is is good thing if he was let go.

However, I cannot support Ballmer's apparent inability to resolve the issue in a more discreet or smooth way and shareholders will be livid to see their stock go don't just because Ballmer could not negotiate a smoother transition. You can't just fire a person of the importance of Sinofsky and expect there will be no consequences.

Before this I still thought that Ballmer was getting better, but now I think he should retire and let some younger and fresh faces lead Microsoft. The simply fact that is easy to imagine the stock going up on Ballmer's retirement is an indicator that his time is running out.

on the other hand, Steve Jobs showed that somebody that wants everything their way makes for a more coordinated and targeted company. Instead MSFT will go back to design by meeting which means we're going back to the days where xbox would only talk to WMP but not zune. And the days where WMC wouldn't talk to WMP or zune. And the days where your xbox couldn't really grab files from your PC unless they were shared via WMP, but not WMC...unless you launched the WMC extender but then you couldn't see the zune/WMP files...

wow looking forward to the MSFT of the last decade to return....NOT.

neonspark said,

on the other hand, Steve Jobs showed that somebody that wants everything their way makes for a more coordinated and targeted company. Instead MSFT will go back to design by meeting which means we're going back to the days where xbox would only talk to WMP but not zune. And the days where WMC wouldn't talk to WMP or zune. And the days where your xbox couldn't really grab files from your PC unless they were shared via WMP, but not WMC...unless you launched the WMC extender but then you couldn't see the zune/WMP files...

wow looking forward to the MSFT of the last decade to return....NOT.

Xbox talks to both WMP and Zune. You also don't seem to understand WMC/WMP. WMP is the media platform that Windows itself uses, the player you see on screen is just the UI to the underlying technologies and is irrelevant, as these technologies are STILL in Windows 8, even though Windows Media Player is not there by default.

The example of needing or not needing WMC for content and sharing is not correct.

However, you are right about the disconnect of integration of features, and Zune lacked support for Plays To and other features that should have made it the 'frontend' for the Media features in Windows.

If you think Zune was a disconnect, look at what we have now, where the Windows Phone team has been punching and fighting Sinofsky to have a better client and integration. Instead we have Zune still and TWO Windows 8 Phone clients for the PC with one removing features and the Music App in Windows 8 is basic at best, and pales in features to even the Windows Phone Music App, let alone what should be available as the main Music App for Windows 8 itself. There is stuff missing and functionality that still needs to be updated in most of the integrated Windows 8 Apps.

The disconnects of integration are the staple of what Sinofsky embodied, as he was the one at the Office team that was building their own UI controls instead of using the OS level controls, and he was the one that made Word and Excel not integrate 'normally' into Windows because he thought he knew better. He killed touch and tabletpc support in Office in 2003 and didn't allow them to build the ribbon with a touch mode the spaced out the options. (Which 2013 Office has, but on a limited basis and it was FORCED down his throat just to get that.)

If you look at the integration of technologies, Microsoft's roadmap in 2007 2008 was to consolidate and integrate. This is where Windows 7 came from and started to get Microsoft back on track. The Live Applications were put into a group so that integration would no longer be a problem, and a lot of good things were happening.

In 2009, Sinofsky killed off a lot of this work, and even though Windows has a lot of brilliance, there are things HE KILLED in Windows 8 that enterprise customers and developers were promised when the project began.

(You can still find what was promised, like the ability to mimic the Windows 7 UI for business users, and the DWM software fallback making it so that the Classic and Basic UIs were no longer needed as this was confusing to business customers, and on and on that in the end Sinofsky killed and made worse.)

As much as I like what Windows 8 gives users that was NOT available or possible in Windows 7, they made mistakes by locking it down too tightly when they could have left the users (and business customers) with the option of having the desktop as the default UI, which is what was supposed to happen.

Sinofsky was the poster child inside Microsoft for integration gaps and his departure is something most of the people close to the problem are quite happy about.

thenetavenger said,

You can still find what was promised, like the ability to mimic the Windows 7 UI for business users, and the DWM software fallback making it so that the Classic and Basic UIs were no longer needed as this was confusing to business customers, and on and on that in the end Sinofsky killed and made worse.)

They actually stuck to both of these, in the sense that the desktop UI for current programs is still there more or less thee same as ever, and the DWM software fallback mode actually *does* exist in Windows 8.

After reading the above quote, "There was Steve's way or no other way." it makes me understand a little about his seeming obstinance in remove the Start menu and the Start button completely from Windows 8. Despite the fact that during the public beta testing and RC many decried the fact that Windows 8 was leaving behind traditional desktop and laptop users, but nothing was changed for the final release whatsoever.

devHead said,
After reading the above quote, "There was Steve's way or no other way." it makes me understand a little about his seeming obstinance in remove the Start menu and the Start button completely from Windows 8. Despite the fact that during the public beta testing and RC many decried the fact that Windows 8 was leaving behind traditional desktop and laptop users, but nothing was changed for the final release whatsoever.

except off course that this was the UX team. you know how leads the team? yup, it's exactly who is in charge of everything now
so much for your take.

neonspark said,

except off course that this was the UX team. you know how leads the team? yup, it's exactly who is in charge of everything now
so much for your take.

Oh. Well alrighty, then.

I am Not PCyr said,
i've heard this retort a million times now..

explain what he did then ?
or does that depend on what question was asked ? lol

If I make a change to my software at work - i'm the instigator, the designer and the implementer - does the head of my division micro manage the process personally? does he do the design, instigate the idea or implement it? Julie had far more control over it (back then) and possibly as a consequence of moving job may have a little less as a result. It's well known she was far more at the centre of things like MUI - there's a heap of stuff on the web supporting this. Given that ultimately balmer is CEO you might as well say he was responsible for MUI as he was even higher up the tree than steve.

I find things like this interesting. I've worked in organizations that lost some really good people by trying to keep the trouble maker... Eventually they catch on and get rid of the trouble maker, but I always think of what could have been had they made it their goal to keep the good people to begin with. I wish it worked out this way more often (And sooner).

I wish all the best to Sinofsky, but I've worked with people like him (Based solely on stories, which I'll admit could be GREATLY skewed), and they never seem to understand the importance of collaboration or working as a team.

M_Lyons10 said,
I find things like this interesting. I've worked in organizations that lost some really good people by trying to keep the trouble maker... Eventually they catch on and get rid of the trouble maker, but I always think of what could have been had they made it their goal to keep the good people to begin with. I wish it worked out this way more often (And sooner).

I wish all the best to Sinofsky, but I've worked with people like him (Based solely on stories, which I'll admit could be GREATLY skewed), and they never seem to understand the importance of collaboration or working as a team.


The trouble maker took charge of the successful OS called Windows 7 after the downturn on Vista.

M_Lyons10 said,
I find things like this interesting. I've worked in organizations that lost some really good people by trying to keep the trouble maker... Eventually they catch on and get rid of the trouble maker, but I always think of what could have been had they made it their goal to keep the good people to begin with. I wish it worked out this way more often (And sooner).

I wish all the best to Sinofsky, but I've worked with people like him (Based solely on stories, which I'll admit could be GREATLY skewed), and they never seem to understand the importance of collaboration or working as a team.

Steve Jobs did great by avoiding design by meeting. The reason both steves shipped on time was because they didn't let others slow things down with their "team concerns". this is why vista was late and this is why windows 9 will likely be a late disaster and they will beg for Steve to come back and fix it.

M_Lyons10 said,
I find things like this interesting. I've worked in organizations that lost some really good people by trying to keep the trouble maker... Eventually they catch on and get rid of the trouble maker, but I always think of what could have been had they made it their goal to keep the good people to begin with. I wish it worked out this way more often (And sooner).

I wish all the best to Sinofsky, but I've worked with people like him (Based solely on stories, which I'll admit could be GREATLY skewed), and they never seem to understand the importance of collaboration or working as a team.

My experiences with this are that people that are willing to say "get rid of X of I'm gone" are going to be gone soon no matter what you do.

NastySasquatch said,

My experiences with this are that people that are willing to say "get rid of X of I'm gone" are going to be gone soon no matter what you do.

My experience are the ones that make such demands ARE the trouble makers...

I won't say that they can't be productive, but often the company suffers in many ways. From less ideas coming to the table, to hampered productivity because suggestions they don't come up with on their own can't possibly be better, to a mad scramble when they leave because by the time they do they've chased away every other viable employee that was a "threat" to them. This article in and of itself is an example of the latter.

It's best to get rid of people like that before they rotten the whole bunch.

AllThingsD.com also reports, via unnamed sources, that in the end it came down to Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. He apparently backed the decision made by CEO Steve Ballmer for Sinofsky to leave.

So he was "fired" then.

neonspark said,

technically he agreed with the decision to let the guy go. doesn't mean steve got fired.

I'm pretty sure he was let go. There wasn't the usual "Steve is leaving to go do <X>".

Its hillarious if you imagine he left just as he does in the picture. anyway while he did a great job on windows 7, arguably windows 8 was a UI mess. I am not talking about Metro, I am talking about many obvious UI inconsistencies and mistakes which somehow slipped pass quality control.

S3P€hR said,
Its hillarious if you imagine he left just as he does in the picture. anyway while he did a great job on windows 7, arguably windows 8 was a UI mess. I am not talking about Metro, I am talking about many obvious UI inconsistencies and mistakes which somehow slipped pass quality control.

technically the girl in charge of that is the same girl in charge of the entire boat now. so no.

neonspark said,

technically the girl in charge of that is the same girl in charge of the entire boat now. so no.

If true, MS is in deeper doo-doo that it may have originally thought.

neonspark said,

technically the girl in charge of that is the same girl in charge of the entire boat now. so no.

He (Sinosky) was the boss over the whole project.

Brony said,

He (Sinosky) was the boss over the whole project.


..but he wasn't the UI designer, not did he lead that team. The buck stopped with him ultimately but you are wilfully ignoring the fact that his replacement was at the centre of that feature (rather than all features).

I can see why you wouldn't him want him around any more if it was his way or nothing. Microsoft divisions need to collaborate but not with one iron fist.

Office for example, can you imagine Sinofsky dictating the future of Office to suit his vision of Windows RT and Windows 8 instead of the Office team coming up with their own stuff and collaborating ideas that make sense and are not shoehorned to fit whatever design Windows has at the time,

When one person is negatively effecting multiple divisions to the benefit of one division 'Windows' no matter how well that division may be doing then I think the only option is for him to leave.

WooHoo!!! said,
I can see why you wouldn't him want him around any more if it was his way or nothing. Microsoft divisions need to collaborate but not with one iron fist.

Office for example, can you imagine Sinofsky dictating the future of Office to suit his vision of Windows RT and Windows 8 instead of the Office team coming up with their own stuff and collaborating ideas that make sense and are not shoehorned to fit whatever design Windows has at the time,

When one person is negatively effecting multiple divisions to the benefit of one division 'Windows' no matter how well that division may be doing then I think the only option is for him to leave.

on the other hand, before him, MSFT created vista. so they are just going back to not being able to ship anything on time. great stuff to look forward to.

neonspark said,

on the other hand, before him, MSFT created vista. so they are just going back to not being able to ship anything on time. great stuff to look forward to.

or they could just ship whatever they want on time with full of issues and usability mess like windows 8, seriously fixing vista was easier because it was usable at least, but right now we will have a frankenstein windows where every team put whatever they want and it will be a mess.

Farstrider said,
What's with the blurry picture, it's hurting my eyes? What's the significance, sorry if I am missing something here?

It was taken using an iPhone /troll

I think Sinofsky tried to get Ballmer to use a Surface skateboard and Ballmer fell down and hurt his knee and fired him.

Enron said,
I think Sinofsky tried to get Ballmer to use a Surface skateboard and Ballmer fell down and hurt his knee and fired him.

I find the theory of Ballmer taking a Sinsofsky to his knee just ridiculous... Pffft

GS:mac