2012 will be remembered as the year of major product launches and corporate shakeups. After Apple had launched the iPhone 5, the company let go of iOS boss Scott Forstall and a recently hired Head of Retail John Browett. Now Microsoft is following suit, but the situation appears to be far more amicable.
Microsoft announced yesterday evening that Windows boss Steven Sinofsky, who had just recently come off of launching Windows 8 (and riding a Surface skateboard), would be leaving the company. Microsoft has promoted Julie Larson-Green to Windows software and hardware engineering lead. Tami Reller will continue as CFO for the Windows division, and both will report directly to company CEO Steve Ballmer.
The abruptness of the Windows shakeup has many people assuming it was a situation similar to the aforementioned shakeup at Apple. A source speaking to Business Insider claims that Sinofsky quit after Ballmer refused to name the Windows boss as his successor. Microsoft didn't comment on those rumors, but the emails sent out by Ballmer and Sinofsky were acquired by Forbes. In those emails, the split appears amicable with Sinofsky wanting to pursue other interests outside of Microsoft.
Ballmer's letter doesn't address the rumors that are now swirling around, but Sinofsky tackles them head on in his letter to employees:
Some might notice a bit of chatter speculating about this decision or timing. I can assure you that none could be true as this was a personal and private choice that in no way reflects any speculation or theories one might read–about me, opportunity, the company or its leadership.
As I’ve always believed in making space for new leaders as quickly as possible, this announcement is effective immediately and I will assist however needed with the transition.
At this point, it seems like Sinofsky will still be involved with hardware and software development at wherever he ends up. It's likely that hardware and software developers are already aiming to get him considering his experience in building Windows 8 and Surface. Whatever he ends up doing, it's sure to be exciting.