Report: Steve Sinofsky leaving Microsoft, effective immediately [Updated]

The Wall Street Journal’s All Things D is reporting that effective immediately, Windows unit President Steve Sinofsky is leaving the company. The move is considered to be "mutual" and deals in large part to Sinofsky not being a "team player", evidently rubbing some executives in other divisions the wrong way. It’s a shocking move because if anyone, Sinofsky has become the face of the new direction of Microsoft, having “saved” Windows 7 and pushing Redmond towards Windows 8 and beyond.

All Things D go on to say that “…Sinofsky deputies. Julie Larson-Green will head up the engineering side of Windows, while Tami Reller, who has had headed marketing and served as the unit’s CFO, will have responsibility for the business side of things.”

We have heard from numerous people (off-the-record) that many within Microsoft, due in part to his somewhat strong personality and uncompromising management style, did not like Sinofsky. Regardless, it’s quite shocking to hear of this move as Microsoft has had quite a few big names leave in the last few years.

Update: It's official. Microsoft just put out the press release (opens in new tab).

Update 2: The Verge published the internal Microsoft letter from CEO Steve Ballmer to employees

Source: All Things DMicrosoft (opens in new tab), The Verge

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Good I didn't like him anyways he sucks, Microsoft need to get cool ppl to do their presentations.
  • Haha I know, right!? He was a terrible presenter, and if someone ELSE slipped up (god forbid)... He would correct them on stage and make an ass-hat of the both of em
  • Good work, bad personality. Shame =/
  • Unfortunately, he is being replaced by people who are even more incompetent at public speaking.
  • If Larson-Green is replacing him then it's not going to be more entertaining... She is very... very boring...
  • She wasn't that twirp doing the QVC like sales job during the windows 8 presentation was she? 
  • She has no enthusiasm... I prefer Steve Sinofsky... Just to tell you how boring she is
  • Wowow! Shocking! People said he was heir apparent, team player or not. Wow!
  • I'd like to think it had to do with windows 8 being a mess and all... 
  • You can think that but that's not even close to the reality.
  • Could not agree more! Do you think Microsoft may turn back around to its "old self" now? Or do you think they have too much invested to go back? I love the new Microsoft =/
  • I doubt it as well.  The CEO seems to think highly of windows 8 and certainly has even more riding on the Metro crap UI succeeding.  Most likely the guy just worn out his welcome.
  • I LOL'd.  :)
  • 1st of all I'd like to say, Daniel your are the shiznit!
    I agree with you. We are SO far on the out side that we dont know and I really dont want to think that Ballmer pushed him out the door but my Spider senses a going wacko. It comes down to vision and quality and most of loyalty and the a lackluster amount flowing through our tech world & most of all from the main corps that feed our habits
  • It's not a mess. It's on the right path but just too young.
  • +1
  • Agree 100%. I personally dig the new MS, warts and all ;-). They needed big changes or they would crumble like Apple will in the next cycle. Watch and see.
  • To what mess are you referring!?
  • Windows 8 is not a mess.  You can go hang out at the WinSuperSite where the other Windows 8 whinners are.
  • Aw, c'mon they ain't THAT bad lol =P
  • Isn't Windows 8 selling faster than any version ever? & being reviewed as "amazing" with the exception of those who are fanboys of other horrid platforms?
  • Probably because it is super cheap tp upgrad to.... that a side I love the speedyness and I don't use the metro so much on my desktop so it is ok.
  • Not really a mess IMO, but if you compare the buttery-smoth/subtle/cool animation of WP against Windows8?.. Windows8 is no where near WP. Happy owner of Lumia 900 here.
  • I disagree, Windows 8 brought 4 PCs in my house back to relevance. They crawled under Vista/7
  • Windows 8 is awesome bro, I'm never going back to Windows 7... And I don't even have a touch-screen yet. Plus the price is cheap, it's about as much as a video game.
  • Its awesome on a touch screen. Been running it on a little tab for months and I'm still finding gems here and there.
  • Depends on the touchscreen, it better be a newer one, but even with touch problems it smokes SMOKES seven =P
  • Windows 8 smokes Windows 7, things like file copy over network drive goes from 20MB/s to 70MB/s. I won't go back to Windows 7 either. Company shouldn't fire people just because the don't fit the culture, these people are often needed to get big corporations to challenge themselves.
  • This got me thinking of an article about Scott Forstall and Apple. Which applies in this case aswell (read it, it's a good read!):
  • That was a good read. Thanks, Slinzer.
  • Have to agree.  Did some massive file moving in 8 this weekend.  Great improvements over 7.
  • Definitely less expensive than Halo 4! Loving both, but I can't play with Halo at work.
  • I agree, I didnt think i was going to like it at first on a desktop but speed and snappiness has really changed my mind. use for month and you wont want to go back. 
  • For real where do people come up with this dribble.  Windows 8 is far from a mess.  Speaking from someone who actually uses it on both my desktop and Surface.  The Windows fail dribble is getting old.  Windows 8 is a solid, fluid, and easy to use OS once you get by the small learning curve cause it's new.  I would never go back to 7 and I loved 7.  That's how much I prefer 8.  I get this feeling there are just a lot pro Apple and Android haters out there that want to take pot shots at MS every chance they get.  Not saying you are one, but I'm seeing a trend.  
  • I'm an iMac user, n after years i was happy, until W8 came out, i'm all diggin for it!! Yeap m changing my iMac to the Sony Vaio Duo11 in this week, i think i can be a very good living proof that W8 nails it.... :P
  • Yup, ex Mac / Apple person myself. (Still have iTunes match, as I can't find anything comperable yet)
    I had iPhone, Gmail, Mobile.Me, Timecapsule, Apple  TV. Still have my Macbook, but don't use it. And iPad (from work though).
    Things that made me move. Zune Pass. Moving from Gmail -> Hotmail (finally MS got anti spam working, no advert taglines /// NO PRIVACY INTRUSION like Gmail) Skydrive for Photos is fantastic, and SHARING on Skydrive is amazing. You can share with peolpe who don't have an MS account with a short link.  I moved Evernote to OneNote as the Sync is much better. And being able to use Web based Office Apps is great for presentations, and collaboration.
    The icing on the cake, was getting a Windows Phone, and realising this all became mobile - and I could msg my kids on Xbox (mostly when they were supposed to be in school :) )
    Everything now works wonderfully. Windows 8 now matches my Macbook for power on, and power off (and goes into sleep properly like my Macbook does). All my important data is on Skydrive, so my PC is no longer a backup risk.
    And I can access all this from my phone. I coulnd't be happier.
    Oh, and I gave up my iPad, and now only use the MS Surface. Its a MUCH BETTER than iPad device.
    I promise you. I can do real work with Office. Use the mouse to surf. Proper the thing up nicely on a stand.
    (The iPad smart cover wasn't that great for that) I get the same 9->10 hour battery life. Its awesome.
    I have the new Kindle Paperwhite to complete the awesome collection :) W8 is great. I am just waiting on a Nokia 920 for the holy trinity. Good luck fellow ex Mac guy, the promised land is fun indeed!
  • You forgot to spell Microsoft with an $, so that I would automatically skip your troll comment.
  • Also, given that JLG apparently had a lot to do with pushing the modern / metro interface (and the Office ribbon, for that matter), I think this reinforces the forward progress of the ecosystem consolidation under one interface rather than a step backwards.
  • Wow... Did not see that coming.. Good luck to Sinofsky, wherever he may go.
  • Apple have some openings...?
  • Joke by the way...
  • Apple might just snag him up...
  • ...or God forbid, geGool! =[
  • Yeah he probably has the personality haha either Apple og Google will probably snag him.
  • That was my first thought when I read the news. Apple's iOS chief Scott Forstall was fired couple of weeks ago. On 2nd thought, Forstall was asked to leave because he was a jerk and did not work well with others. Sinofsky seems to fit the same profile as Forstall. Let's see if that's where Sinofsky is going.
  • I heard of the issues, didn't think he'd leave.
  • Why is everyone named Steve?
  • +1 I've noticed that about a month ago
  • lmao. true.
  • Steve, Steve, Steven, Steve, Steve, Steve, Steve.
  • Shut up Steve!
  • This guy was Microsoft's version of Steve Jobs. They needed that. And now they killed it. Good going.
  • Well if you ever see full MsFt presentation... You pick up he was kind of a troll.... At his position he can't di that.... Steve needs yo provide a vision and rally the team...I guess hr never realized he wasn't a program engineer anymore
  • Aw, c'mon a little troll goes a long =P
  • Yeah, I wouldn't go that far in comparison.
  • The only problem is that he didn't have Steve Jobs' authority.  Others have to step aside and let you dictate if you want to play being Jobs.  That won't happen.  Not even for Cook at Apple.
  • Wow, I would have never ever predicted this. This must have been extremely recent as Sinofsky was very bullish and seemingly excited at Surface and Windows 8 launches. Weren't people naming him a possible successor to Ballmer? I wonder if Ballmer finally gave in after complaints from others...but why right now--maybe before Sinofsky managed to get too ahead on Windows 9 planning?
  • Well products is out... Better timing than right before
  • I would think that right after would be just as bad as right before. Right before the launch, everything would already be done and ready to go, thus leaving the actual marketing and public impression management to the company. But, right after makes it look like something has gone horribly wrong and somebody needs to pay.
  • WOW!  I'm shocked!!!!!!
  • That name is very popular with ms I guess goodbye good luck in whatever he does.
  • What I still don't understand is why any of the Softy insiders/knowers (Foley, Rubino, Warren) aren't shock about this?
  • They wouldn't be "insiders" if they were... =P
  • Wow that was seriously unexpected
  • Sounds a bt fishy to me.  I would assume the Windows 8 number is not  very good, except the first three days.  BTW I somehow have an impression that Sinofsky is the one pushing for Surface, not Ballmer.  Perhaps they now worry about the OEM relationship.
  • The market demanded! DEMANDED! An Microsoft tablet.
    How do I know this? Because I am a technology leader of a massive company, who didn't stop telling Microsoft at every meeting that they needed a tablet to compete with iPad. Apple is a pain to manage in predominantly Windows setting. (Without an MDM add on service, which is just a royal pain in the bum. Native device management is what we need)
    These won't mean anything to end consumer, but for enterprise IT people who understand cost/support/complexity/compliance/business continuity/data protection all these things matter.
    Windows 8 will sell like hot cakes. It will either sell, stupid numbers of hot cakes, or astronomical numbers of hot cakes. It will be degress of massive success. Windows is _still_ dominant, and Windows is still cheaper than Mac - Microsoft do not have competion in the PC market, apart from the change in form factor to tablet - which they now have an option in. Microsoft have given themselves a defensive position for enterprise, therefore they've got a complete portfolio. At last.
  • I guess they had valid reason but it seemed liked he had a vision of where he wanted this thing to go. Some times assholes are needed. I don't know I think your work should speak for itself...wish this didn't happen.
  • +1! It takes an asshole to get a huge project like Windows done on time and released within 3 years, and Sinofsky did it TWICE. Before him, it took over 5 years and several restarts to finish Vista. I hope they have another leader ready to guide Windows 9 development.
  • I think people forget that being the leader of the Windows division isn't exactly littered with people who keep the job long-term.  Lest we forget Brian Valentine, Kevin Johnson, and Jim Allchin... which brings you to 2006 ;).
  • I hope it works out for the best for him and MS alike.  We all need fresh starts some times. 
  • Crazy....and kind of scary.
  • +1
  • I always have a bad feeling about things like this after what I've been through with HP debacles but yall are going by his presentation skills alone we don't know what really happen I don't see it as good news its just news for now
  • Come again??? -.-
  • Woah didn't really see that coming. I wonder if anything major will change with Microsoft's direction after this...
  • This is sad. That Julie person introduce one of the most hideous things to windows, ribbon user interface. I don't want her taking his place her ideas are horrid. What was wrong with him? Was he really bad? I really don't like Julie. Anyone but her.
  • Again, ribbon-haters are the minority...sorry =/
  • Jesus, 5 years later and YOU are the only one left on Earth still whining about Ribbon. It's so much better than menus, AND everyone else adapted and moved on 4 years ago. Get over it!
  • I was mostly laughing at how directed the hate was toward "that Julie person." Makes me again.
  • Is a lost! I like his way!
  • +1
  • Wow! This is shocking! I actually liked Steven quite a bit! He seemed to know and love software like not many do. I wish him well.
  • +2
  • Anyone who thinks that Windows 8 is a mess clearly doesn't grasp the revolutionary step that this OS took for mobile system. Within one year, I can see tons of ultra light and portable devices running Windows 8 more than any other platform out there all of the place.
  • Omg this scares me. I saw him as a visionary for windows. I really hope this doesn't hurt Microsoft
  • Maybe he can start a tech company with Forstall
  • Put Joe Belfiore in.
  • PANOS FTW!!! =P
  • No to Panos. I like his presentation skills and all but he's a salesman. Never put a salesman in charge, Steve Jobs was one of the few exceptions to that rule.
  • My Exact Thoughts After the Initial Shock! Joe B should be taking over that position!
  • So the marketing director is CFO.. Its all over.
  • Windows 8 is awesome. It's selling well. If anything, it seems like he was set to retire pending a successful launch. He guided the team to the top of Mount Everest and now it's up to them to stay there.
  • I like the cut of your jib! =D
  • yep he probably quit a while back but had to stay until it was launched or held off quitting until it was shipped thats pretty standard - been there done that myself
  • I couldn't disagree more windows 8 is forward thinking. I already love how easy it is to synch my phone and PC with the WP AP.
  • Are you telling me there is an app for WP in the W8 market? Damn it, why wasn't I informed about this matter!?
  • You even ON this site much?! Lol =P
  • I am but I also have a life... I'm not really on the site much, I have the WPCentral app for my L900...
  • Damn, that can't be an easy hole to fill. Hope this isn't a bad move.
  • That's what she said
  • I see what you did there...
  • Yup let him go he's one of the oldies in msft company..thanks for windows8 Ballmer got from here
  • W. T. F. Yo...? =O
  • Meh? Next.
  • I've been a HUGE fan of Steve's work within the company, especially within Windows, however, I'm definitely glad that the changing of the guard may lead to several tech journalists being un-blacklisted from the company. As is said, a successful product launch is a great time to end things on your own terms.
  • Me too!   What a mess... sell the stock. 
    Iron Law of Bureaucracy:  "In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely." 
    If you think Sinofsky was a bad presenter, you've never seen Julie Larson-Green put a crowd to sleep.  She's a pretty girl in IT, I've seen them overly promoted in tech time and time again.  Just look at all the fuss over Marissa Mayer, every glowing article with a huge picture... no doubt, she's beautiful.  But why is everyone so enthrawed?  She hasn't done anything except promise everyone new phones (and they reported it as the cleverest idea ever).
    Well, back to the unbold, boring old, predictable Microsoft with mini-kingdoms going their own direction.  I guess Larson-Green does take a better photo and doesn't stir the pot, so that's something to build on.
  • Microsoft should be careful of a lawsuit, I am sure that apple has a patent on high level employee drama.
  • According to that letter, Windows Live lives...
  • Come on Daniel... what do you know that we don't ;-)
  • Too early to tell anything for sure about this firing / quitting / mutual agreement ... so few are in the know on this its all just speculation out there. Seems pretty normal to me that you launch a product and you move on to the next challenge or it becomes a logical place for a changing of the guard ... all you doom and gloomers needs to chill.
  • I'm betting that all the execs that left (like Robbe Bach) were because of him and at the time it was thought they couldn't work with Steven, when it was the opposite.  Though immedately does leave some concern he did something so significant they couldn't come up with a transition plan to replace his position 1 for 1.
  • Welcome back J. Allard.....this would have pissed him off enough to make him leave. Although the courier wouldn't have taken off, Allard does have vision. could it be???
  • I had some issues with Steve, but Larson-Green really did not impress me on stage at the Windows 8 launch with her plastered-on smile.  I think she may have had work done.  She's the visionary that's going to lead Microsoft to the promised land?  Watching her presentation, I was not thinking, "This is the person I would like to see take over the Windows division!" 
  • From some old anecdotes, it seems Sinofsky had a very tight control of how all things were being designed/developed. While it helps deliver on time, it alienates the rest of the team when their conflicting opinions are routinely dismissed. It's not something you want moving forward, now that the platform framework is in place. Maybe he can go to Apple and make them get their act together and fix all their broken software...
  • Him, Steve Ballmer and that girl who is a terrible speak person should all be fired... seriously... Steve Ballmer is the worst CEO that can be. He has no class, he looks like a sweating pitbull, I really don't like him.
  • No.....
  • Well Simon "brainless" Tupper, he has overseen a very profitable period in Microsoft history.
    He has brought, MS Surface, Xbox, Windows Phone and now Windows 8 to market _ALL WITH A VERY SIMILAR CORE_ the WinRT kernel. Much easier to code and port across all platforms.
    You are very immature of you base your assessment about his performance due to his looks.
    As opposed to most tedious titans of the tech industry, I find Steve Ballmer clearly passionate, loves Microsoft, loves developers, loves his company and his job. I don't mind how he looks, and I love how he works up a sweat. I like him. He's genuine, and seems like a nice guy. But suggest he is the worst CEO is just plain wrong by any reasonable measure.
  • It's not plain wrong... he has been named worst CEO of the year and Steve Elop was not far behind(or ahead if you prefer)
    To me Ballmer should be replaced as soon as possible. Microsoft needs a new leader.
  • I totally love windows 8, i couldnt go back to windows 7 after using it. I find it fast, fluid and easy to use. Havent run in to a single crash or problem with any apps/games i use. So far so good for me :) Love the boot and shutdown times. I have to say I like the metroUI. I dont miss the start menu at all.
    All in all good luck to Steve. Change is good for both MS and Steve.
  • Check winsupersite. Paul has sinofky's email posted on his site too
  • Reading some comments on the web it seems that Microsoft truly has blackballed a decent amount of tech media and made them as Mary Jo Foley says it, persona non grata. May be all the fawning over Apple that has seemed over done and frankly irresponsible and overdone will subside and Microsoft can get their just due. Having the tech media hate on you and your products while propping up the competition can be a bigger negative than the positive your beautiful products create. That seems that case with this guy.
  • Shocking, I was starting to lime him.
  • And now he got a lemon...
  • He fu..ed up the Windows and Windows Phone divisions with the result that many talented people have left before, so it's a good thing that he's out now. Pretty much as I predicted as Ballmer didn't want to back him any longer as his own job was on risk then.
  • I honestly never had a problem with Sinofsky. But, I didn't work for him so much as interact with him from the "outside" (I had to rattle his brain on some Outlook/Exchange projects he had worked years earlier). I left MS when he was still in Office and BV was in charge of Windows. Good luck to him...
  • there is something wrong Big name like that can't leave the company without a big reason maybe its true his atitude affect other departments preformance
  • May not be a s bad as what everyone is thinking - checkout his own email:
  • Thanks for posting this link, it clears up a lot of things. Now if you can get it out to the tech sites that look to make it as if something is terribly wrong at MS it would be greatly appreciated. I am a former winrumor site fan, but since the gentleman who did such a brilliant job there move to the verge, his coverage of window has been put on the back pages there as they are pro Apple....I'm sure this has made their front page as if something went wrong.
  • This is a good link that clears things up a lot. Daniel R., can you add it to your story?
  • Whiners just let it go, there's no place for the old MS in today's world, it's so 80s it is embarrassing. On the other hand Metro/Modern UI is the coolest thing that happened to tech since shadow beards.
  • he looked real stupid while giving presentation of surface, m glad he's gone
  • judas, oh man, where do I start with an idiot like you. Is the sum of his lifes work at Microsoft that little presentation he gave? No. You plank. Sinosfsky's blog posts were some of the best I've read. Clearly showing how MS got to where they did and why they took the design decisions they took. Enlightening. He worked for years on these projects.
    But just like the other small minded morons on here who take a dislike like to someone based on looks, or their presenting style - basically. You mean spirited person. The world would be better off without haters like you in it.
  • Media outlets and otherwise need to be real careful about what they say about him.  Making unfounded character assessments is specious and opens them up to libel.
  • well everyone can say what they want, but he was the guy who finally started gluing all of the disparate pieces of Microsoft together.  The Windows ecosystem today would be NOTHING without him.  I think he probably disagreed with the shelving of Windows Messenger in favor of Skype because it fractured the ecosystem he built.  I agree Skype should have been the one integrated and shut down, not the other way around.
  • Wrong,
    he is the person which kill other parts of Microsoft. He has not a lot of friends inside MS.
    The .Net Developer Community has a new Day for Party. Hopefully MS will now correct some Facts (Like the shift to HTML/JS). But there was no real shift outside. Because developer did´t develop with this kind of stuff.
    It´s a party Day now. 
  • Something that got missed in this is that you all need to go back 12 months and see what was happening during the SIlverlight mess (get past that "Silveright" and look a little deeper in what else was happening). There were rumors of internal fights going on between the Development Division and the Windows Division. (And remember in this that the Developer Division causes people to develop software for Windows which in turn makes Windows interesting to own.. if we didn't do this then you wouldn't be interested in Windows).
    Go look at what Ray Ozzie left. Go find out about the Courier and J Allard. (and the list goes on and on).. go read the recent CNet article on Sinofsky,
    The common factor in all this was Sinofsky and his management style. Basically if it didn't fit with his schedule or got in the way or was something he might need to rely on and couldn't fully control, he took the project, or killed the idea. He ran over more people and projects in the name of the release date. I suspect that more innovation was killed by Sinofsky and as a result they probably lost some of their more creative people (I won't say "all their innovators" because that is stupid to say, but go back and look at the list of high profile people who left)...
    Heck, what happened with Charlie Kindel? Yes, these folks all say the right things in leaving (if you are smart you don't burn bridges), but Sinofsky's name was at the head of a different kind of Microsoft.. One that released APIs to a select few and called it a public release because there were unannounced things that they were saving. Unannounced things that ended up being minor tiny little things in the grand scope... I could go on and on.. but will leave it at that.
    He built a quality product on time which is something I definitely agree with, but at what cost? And the way you treat others can have adverse affects in the grand scheme of things. 
    To be brutally honest, I can, today, without hesitation, root for Windows again (I was having a hard time before this, because in my mind it meant that Sinofsky would be rewarded and that the MS has treated us their fanboi's would continue in this manner)..
  • This guy was NOT good at public speaking!!!
  • So f what!!!
  • With the $$$ they are going to save on his salery can they mark the Surface RT down to the 399 it should have cost in the first place. Or do we still have to wait for the Surface 8 to come out after the holidays to see the price correction?