Steven Sinofsky, the man behind the success of the billion dollar Windows business, decided to leave Microsoft on Monday after working with the software giant for over two decades. Sinofsky’s resignation is effective immediately, passing the reign to his longtime protégé Julie Larson-Green.
Sinofsky’s sudden departure shocked the tech world and sparked debate about his relationship with Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer.
Weeks prior to his resignation, a company insider disclosed the souring relationship between Sinofsky and Ballmer.
However, Microsoft downplayed the brewing tensions between its top two executives and insisted Sinofsky’s resignation was mutual.
“I am grateful for the many years of work that Steven has contributed to the company,” said Ballmer.
Sinofsky also expressed his gratitude for his time with the world’s leading software provider.
“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 said in a statement.
Fresh from earning a Masters degree in computer science from the University of Massachusetts, Sinofsky landed his first job at Microsoft as a software engineer in 1989.
Sinofsky moved up to the ranks after three years and became a technical assistant to Bill Gates. He was then promoted as a senior vice president of Office in 1999, establishing his name as one of the brightest young executives for Microsoft.
He later on assumed the role as senior vice president of the Windows and Windows Live Group and eventually promoted as president of the Windows division.
Sinofsky‘s greatest achievement at Microsoft is the development of Windows 7, which helped restore the software’s reputation after the widely criticized Windows Vista. Sinofsky also led the effort to launch Microsoft’s latest software the Windows 8, which has received positive feedbacks from reviewers and consumers alike.
This accomplishment alone put Sinofsky in a position to succeed Ballmer in the future. However, Sinofsky’s well documented polarizing ways drew the ire of fellow colleagues in the company.
With Sinofsky out of the picture, Microsoft’s volume chief operating officer Kevin Turner emerges as the only legit candidate to assume the top executive post for Microsoft.