Weeks after launch of Windows 8, Microsoft's Windows guru waves goodbye

Windows and Windows Live President Steven Sinofsky is leaving Microsoft. What's behind his exit? 

Reuters
Steven Sinofsky, the president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft, speaks at the launch event of Windows 8 operating system in New York, in this Oct. 25, 2012 file photo. Microsoft announced this week that Sinofsky will be leaving the company with immediate effect, days after the software giant launched the Surface tablet.

Late last month, Microsoft launched Windows 8, officially inaugurating what Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer called a "new era" in desktop and mobile computing. Now, less than three weeks later, Microsoft is waving goodbye to Steven Sinofsky, the executive in charge of the Windows group at Microsoft. In a press release, Microsoft announced that Sinofsky would be replaced by Julie Larson-Green, a longtime Microsoft employee. 

"It is impossible to count the blessings I have received over my years at Microsoft," Sinofsky said in a statement. "I am humbled by the professionalism and generosity of everyone I have had the good fortune to work with at this awesome company." 

So what's behind Sinofsky's exit? Well, Microsoft is saying the whole thing is mutual and amicable. Others aren't so sure. 

Over at Businessweek, Ashlee Vance speculates that Sinofsky's departure might have something to do with his "often-prickly nature." Sinofsky, Vance writes, "wasn’t seen as a team player within Microsoft and was instead known for protecting his fiefdom. That approach doesn’t go over well at today’s Microsoft, which needs to prove that Windows is just one piece of a larger collective that includes phone software, online services, and [the Xbox 360]." 

Moreover, Sinofsky may have been blamed for less than robust Windows 8 sales. 

It's worth noting that aside from the initial press release, Microsoft is staying mostly mum. Sinofsky, for his part, declined interview requests. 

So what's next for Microsoft and the Windows 8 brand? Well, over at Computerworld, Matt Hamblen isn't exactly feeling optimistic. 

"My feeling is that Windows 8 is just so immense in its changes for the computing public that even Microsoft hasn't come to grips with how to market it or even how to explain it," Hamblen writes. "Arriving nearly three years late to the touchscreen-tablet game with its immense desktop and laptop following in tow, Microsoft seems to have just birthed the Windows 8 OS too quickly in hopes that it will seem logical and intuitive to its smart users, and therefore easy." 

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