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Windows Chief Sinofsky Leaves Microsoft

The news comes two weeks after the launch of Windows 8 and the Surface RT tablet.

Microsoft announced the departure of Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live divisions, late on Monday. The news comes two weeks after the launch of Windows 8 and the Surface RT tablet, efforts led by the 23-year Microsoft veteran, who was once viewed as a possible successor to CEO Steve Ballmer.

The company gave no reason for the abrupt departure of Sinofsky. Microsoft veteran Julie Larson-Green is now head of Windows hardware and software engineering, while Tami Reller remains chief financial officer and chief marketing officer of the Windows business. Larson-Green and Reller will report directly to Ballmer.

"I am grateful for the many years of work that Steven has contributed to the company," Ballmer said in a 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."

It is unclear whether Sinofsky left Microsoft voluntarily or if he was dismissed, but his departure certainly raises the question of whether the company is pleased with the initial success of Windows 8 and the new Surface tablet, Microsoft's first ever computing device. Sinofsky had a reputation for being polarizing and was said to not work well with others at Microsoft. He received early acclaim during his tenure at the company as a technical assistant to Bill Gates.

Little more is known at this point regarding the circumstances behind Sinofsky's departure, where he may be headed and what this means for the future of the Windows division.

Larson-Green joined the company in 1993. She was involved with the user interface of Internet Explorer and played a key role in the development of the Office user experiences, Microsoft said. Larson-Green was a program manager for Windows 7 and Windows 8, where she was involved with the UI and research.

Reller took a more unusual path to the Windows group in 2007. She was an executive in the Dynamics division, having come to Microsoft from the company that developed Dynamics, Great Plains Software, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2001.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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