Just weeks after launching Windows 8, Steven Sinofsky, the executive responsible for developing the new release of Microsoft's flagship product, is leaving the company.
A Microsoft statement late Monday did not say why Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division and a 22-year Microsoft veteran, is no longer with the company.
Julie Larson-Greene, a Microsoft employee since 1993 and most recently corporate vice president for the Windows experience, has been promoted to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering efforts. Tami Reller, currently chief financial officer and chief marketing officer for the Windows Division, retains those jobs and takes on the added responsibility for the business of Windows, according to the Microsoft statement.
The changes are effective immediately, Microsoft said.
"It is impossible to count the blessings I have received over my years at Microsoft. I am humbled by the professionalism and generosity of everyone I have had the good fortune to work with at this awesome company,”" Sinofsky, 47, said in a comment included in the statement.
"I am grateful for the many years of work that Steven has contributed to the company," CEO Steve Ballmer said in the statement. "The products and services we have delivered to the market in the past few months mark the launch of a new era at Microsoft. We've built an incredible foundation with new releases of Microsoft Office, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Microsoft Surface, Windows Server 2012 and Halo 4, and great integration of services such as Bing, Skype and Xbox across all our products. To continue this success it is imperative that we continue to drive alignment across all Microsoft teams, and have more integrated and rapid development cycles for our offerings."
After several years of development Microsoft launched Windows 8 on Oct. 25 in a splashy event in New York. Windows 8 is the first version of the software specifically designed to run on traditional PCs as well as touch-screen tablet computers.
At the same time Microsoft launched Surface tablet, the company's first branded computer that runs Windows 8 and Windows RT, a version of the OS for ARM-based devices.
Windows 8 has been a big gamble for Microsoft, given the major changes in its user interface, including elimination of the familiar "Start" button. Microsoft has not disclosed any sales data for Windows 8 or Surface since they became available.
Sinofsky oversaw both the development of Windows 8 and its predecessor, Windows 7. His sudden departure will likely raise questions about how the product is fairing in the marketplace.
A Wall Street Journal article said Microsoft watchers had considered Sinofsky to be a possible successor to Ballmer. But the story also said he was widely seen as "a polarizing figure" who was unable to collaborate well with other senior executives.
PUBLISHED NOV. 13, 2012