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back to article Windows boss Steve Sinofsky exits Microsoft

Steven Sinofsky, who since 2009 has served as president of Microsoft's Windows and Windows Live divisions, has left the company less than a month after launching what Steve Ballmer called the most important operating system in Redmond's history. "It is impossible to count the blessings I have received over my years at Microsoft …

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Anonymous Coward

"Microsoft's news release gave no reason for Sinofsky's departure"

Just another misguided attempt by Microsoft to copy a more successful company: Apple.

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Facepalm

Yes, but..

The problem here is that the world stage was exactly empty and in need of someone with more charisma than a road accident, which immediately excludes Ballmer. Ballmer would not even be able to inspire a convention of extroverts if he paid them, so MS needed a better front man.

Which they just sacked.

Applaus..

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Re: Yes, but..

I take it you didn't see Ballmer's Build keynote then? He was terrific in that.

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FAIL

"Just another misguided attempt by Microsoft to copy a more successful company: Apple."

Yeah, cos no other company has people who leave. *facepalm*

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Anonymous Coward

Erm, he was the head of one of the most important products at Microsoft, Windows.

The head of the most important products at Apple also left, that product being iOS.

Hardly difficult to draw a parallel.

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Re: Yes, but..

Keynote is an Apple product - I'm guessing you mean Powerpoint?

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Windows

So, rats deserting the proverbial ship?

Or jumping before he was pushed?

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Anonymous Coward

They probably told him he had to upgrade his XP desktop to Windows 8...

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Black Helicopters

Nah!..

He was a mole. He started in 2009 and spent the last three years building an OS that would destroy them, before running back to his "real" employer.

So, the question is who would benefit from MS' demise? ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nah!..

since he started at M$ in 1989 I think your (particular) conspiracy theory is a bit wide of mark ;-)

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So he oversaw the worst UI MS have foisted on users since MS Bob and miraculously he leaves just after it sinks, erm, launches.

The underlying OS is good enough, a moderate improvement on Win 7. The UI shell on the top is spectacular in it's ignorance of UI practices, general ugliness (subjective, but common) and inappropriateness for anything other than a small touch screen.

So far I haven't heard anything other than complaints of disgust from uses who have had it foisted on them. Naturally, the complainers are going to be louder than others and there's always a distrust of "different", but this is markedly worse than the step from XP to Vista/Win7.

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@Nick

Not saying I agree but who have they partially replaced him with?

"Stepping up to lead product development for all future versions of Windows will be Julie Larson-Green, who has led various projects at Microsoft since joining the company in 1993. Most recently, she was responsible for program management, <u>UI design</u> and research, and internationalization for Windows 7 and 8."

So we will have more and better TIFKAMs in future!

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True, but in the end if he's responsible for it then he should control the actions of his teams, not let them produce UIs like TIFKAM. There's a certain amount of delegation, then there's common sense.

It's makes you wonder if Julie Larson-Green is blind, colour blind, or has tentacles instead of hands and arms. Probably deaf as well as she can't fail to have heard complaints. To be fair, it may be the case that Julie Larson-Green was just putting in place what she was told to do from above and she does have a clue about UI design. Unfortunately given the management and working practices in Microsoft, there's no way she could criticise in any way anything coming from above.

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Thumb Up

"So he oversaw the worst UI MS have foisted on users since MS Bob and miraculously he leaves just after it sinks, erm, launches."

Yup, very unlikely to be a coincidence. I expect the Microsoft board has finally cottoned on the what an utter dog the Win8 interface is for PCs - ie Microsofts cash cow whether they like it or not - and needed the scalp of the idiot who was responsible for it.

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Linux

WTF? I use Bob every day. IE for Bob is hands down the fastest, easiest and most reliable way to surf the net, and IE for Kin the best for mobile bar none. Android users can only weep at the news you never hear of viruses for that handset. Anyway, just because *you* don't like them, doesn't mean everyone doesn't. Why, I was just given a lecture here recently after mentioning WP8 market share when the ms astroturfers told me market share is no measure of quality, quoting the Sun as an example. Unlike the rapidly-ending decades of desktop OS dominance they enjoyed, for some reason.

And it's only going to get better - Microsoft Bob Cloud Enterprise 1.0 (Professional) is due early next year - we'll see who's laughing then!

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Alien

Microsoft Bob Cloud Enterprise 1.0 (Professional)

Somewhere in an alternate universe, this is a product...

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Re: Microsoft Bob Cloud Enterprise 1.0 (Professional)

... with 42 users.

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Joke

Re: Nah!..

since he started at M$ in 1989 I think your (particular) conspiracy theory is a bit wide of mark

What, you've never heard of a long con?

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JLG's credentials

To be fair, it may be the case that Julie Larson-Green was just putting in place what she was told to do from above and she does have a clue about UI design.

She has a clue, but her preferences may not match yours, or mine. She was the lead on the Office Ribbon UI redesign, for example.[1] (I find it curious that she identifies modality [she refers to it as "context"] as the strength of the Ribbon. I generally prefer modal interfaces - I'm a long-time vi/vim user, for example - but I hate the Ribbon. Maybe the modes they chose are a poor fit for my mental model of the Office applications.)

That said, her degrees are in software development (or computer science; I found conflicting information) and business administration - nothing specific to design, UI/UX/UIM, HCI, etc - and I haven't found any record of her publishing any research in the area. Apparently she gave a talk to the Stanford HCI group in 2006, but the video links don't work, so I wasn't able to view it. There's a pull quote about "results-oriented design" and a quotation from Jakob Neilsen,[2] which again might be worrisome depending on your UI preferences. (Neilsen's a bit of a controversial figure in software design.)

This "results-oriented UI" stuff doesn't appear to have caught on. David Sturtz loves to mention it, and it came up in an article in Applied Ergonomics, but Google Scholar doesn't show much else. Again, I find it interesting that this was an explicit goal of the Office redesign, since it sounds from the theory like it should represent a move away from the flawed WYSIWYG concept toward "semantic markup" systems like LaTeX (which I much prefer). But that's not at all how eg Word 2010 feels to me.

Anyhoo: I don't think, from the available evidence, that JLG is an idiot, or entirely unaware of UI/UX/UIM/HCI/etc theory. But I also don't think she's a bona fide researcher in those areas, or the sort of designer who will produce designs that appeal to me. Whether they appeal to a significant portion of the market is another question entirely, of course, and one much more interesting to Microsoft.

Apparently before she came to Microsoft she worked on PageMaker at Aldus.

[1] http://www.microsoft.com/about/technicalrecognition/julie-larson-green.aspx

[2] http://hci.stanford.edu/courses/cs547/speaker.php?date=2006-01-27

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Mushroom

"It is impossible to count the blessings I have received over my years at Microsoft," Sinofsky

...is that becasue it is impossible to count the number zero perhaps??

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Trollface

Re: "It is impossible to count the blessings I have received over my years at Microsoft," Sinofsky

He tried to count them in Excel and it couldn't calculate the total properly.

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Blessings should be easy to count

They're in the form of $ in the bank.

It is the curses that should be harder to count. They're intangible and only just about to really start....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Blessings should be easy to count

It's blood money.

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Re: Blessings should be easy to count

No, it's a fee, nothing more...

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Mushroom

Hahahahahahahahahahaha

I had no possible idea his demise would come this soon. I really didn't.

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Uh-oh.

"Stepping up to lead product development for all future versions of Windows will be Julie Larson-Green [...] Most recently, she was responsible for [...] UI design and research..."

Uh-oh.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Uh-oh.

This selection of cover speaks volumes about the departure of Steve Sinofsky

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Anonymous Coward

The New York Times gives more details

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/12/windows-chief-sinofsky-leaving-microsoft/?hp

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Anonymous Coward

you seee

Ballmer can't watch everything and trusts people to a very large degree to get things right... the products launched, huge problems were hidden, promises were not kept, deceit was rampant, Sinofsky had to go. The fact that it was immediate with no " spend more time with the family" meant the issues were substantial and a huge miss from plan. The incoming four knocker team is about partners and money and that should tell ya something right there....Surface may have problems that are going to cost a ton of money to resolve ... Sinofsky may have fumbled a very important ball.....

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Windows

Re: you seee

Sinofsky may have fumbled a very important ball.....

... maybe ... but was that ball ever really playable?

If I may mix a stronger metaphor, it does rather look as though Sinofsky was handed a poisoned chalice in the form of a requirement to bring Metro (from WinPho7) and the Windows desktop together, and having drunk as deeply from it as he could he failed to find a pearl at the bottom. It certainly looks to me as though he's the unlucky guy who was asked to do something that could never work, did his best, and got sacked because it wasn't perfect.

OTOH this may not be the real issue at all: the New York Times article someone else linked to suggests that Sinofsky got the blame for the fact that the EC-mandated Browser Choice disappeared for a while, and that error will cost Microsoft dearly. It could be that Sinofsky was kept on until Windows 8 was out of the door, and then sacked for that.

Either way, this is his icon for now (but still with too much hair)

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Mushroom

Re: you seee

Bringing NOTRO and Windows 7 UIs together would have been very easy. A start menu item "switch to NOTRO mode" and a tile in that mode "Switch to Windows 7 mode". Maybe they could still do that, depending on how badly they've smashed up the underlying code.

I'd have expected desktop NOTRO to have attracted less than 1% of desktop users, and could have been unceremoniously dumped from Windows 9. Unfortunately, certain people's egos were too big to allow a billion users to choose for themselves ... and now the recriminations have started. Good luck, chaps, you'll need it.

I'd say Microsoft has about two years to return to the Windows 7 interface on the desktop and send NOTRO to Vista-land. If they haven't fixed it by then, MS is doomed. (Might last another decade, but still doomed).

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Coat

Ballmer building a classical defense of women around him to save him, nice. I am not.

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Well...

it nearly worked for Ghadaffi, didn't it...

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Anonymous Coward

Is he going to take Ribbon with him?

Come on... someone had to say it.

:P

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Unhappy

Re: Is he going to take Ribbon with him?

Probably not, as the idiot that has replaced him was the inventor of the Ribbon.

So now everything will have Ribbons.

I'm surprised that Windows 8 didn't feature a "Start Ribbon" instead of the IFKAM UI

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Re: Is he going to take Ribbon with him?

With two women in charge, I'm expecting Windows to have Ribbons, Bows and Unicorns everywhere...

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Alert

2009 / 2006

"Steven Sinofsky, who since 2009(...)"

2006, right?

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Trollface

Did he leave via the Window?

Window # 8

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Did he leave via the Window?

No, it was guesswork - he had to try each corner of the room in turn to see whether an exit magically appeared.

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Devil

Somebody's looking around for a new mission

I wonder which company is going to get their Sinofsky-style Elop maneuver.

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FAIL

wow

When I first heard this I thought it was just insecure Ballmer killing off another potential rival but after getting snippets of whats really going on with Win8 if this doesn't get Ballmer sh_t canned like he should have been long ago nothing will.

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Devil

Hang on a moment

This is bad news, Sinofsky will be replaced by Larson-Green. Shit, this is the woman that was reponsable for Program Management, UI and Research. Well, we all know what her research into UI did, TIFKAM ring a bell anyone.

Now we are going to have the Monkey Balmer being seconded someone that probably appears to be a little bit "confused".

Share prices will take a hit, Balmer will blame Larson-Green. Larson -Green will follow Sinofsky and Ballmer replaces yet another chief bod..... There is a connecting element in the affair but the sweaty chair throwing monkey always remains in the same place..

Maybe it is time that the Shareholders stepped in a removed Ballmer once and for all. He must have some good qualities but once thing is for sure, we never get to see any of them.

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Re: Hang on a moment

Actually Arturo Toledo (http://ux.artu.tv/) led the design of the original Windows Phone UI, I think? He's pretty cool to read, a little "arty" but mostly solid stuff.

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Unhappy

Wrong guy.

Should have been Balmer.

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Pint

Me Gusta.

<glee>

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Windows

Re: Me Gusta.

Schadenfreude Trevor?

;o)

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