Microsoft this evening announced that Windows guru Steven Sinofsky – formally the president of the company’s Windows and Windows Live business – will be leaving the company. Sinofsky, 47, was widely considered a potential successor for CEO Steve Ballmer
; his departure is shocking news, and is going to lead to speculation about issues with the recent launch of Windows 8.
The company also said that Julie Larson-Green has been promoted to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering. Tami Reller retains her roles as chief financial officer and chief marketing officer and will assume responsibility for the business of Windows. Both execs will report to CEO Steve Ballmer.
And here’s a memo to the Microsoft staff from Sinofsky:
From: Steven Sinofsky
Sent: Monday, November 12, 2012 5:42 PM
To: Microsoft – All Employees (QBDG)
Subject: RE: Windows Leadership Changes
With the general availability of Windows 8/RT and Surface, I have decided it is time for me to take a step back from my responsibilities at Microsoft. I’ve always advocated using the break between product cycles as an opportunity to reflect and to look ahead, and that applies to me too.
After more than 23 years working on a wide range of Microsoft products, I have decided to leave the company to seek new opportunities that build on these experiences. My passion for building products is as strong as ever and I look forward focusing my energy and creativity along similar lines.