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Windows chief who quit seen as smart but abusive

india Updated: Nov 14, 2012 22:58 IST
Nick Wingfield

Steven Sinofsky, who, as the head of Windows, was arguably the second-most important leader at Microsoft, suddenly left the company. His abrasive style was a source of discord within Microsoft, and he and Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, agreed that it was time for him to leave, said sources.

The tipping point that led to his departure came after an accumulation of run-ins with chief executive Ballmer and other leaders, , said sources.

One example of the kind of behavior that hurt Sinofsky’s standing occurred at a two-day retreat for Microsoft’s senior executives in Washington. At the meeting, Microsoft’s various division heads were expected to make presentations on their businesses. However, Sinofsky told the group he had not prepared a presentation, and if they wanted to catch up on the progress of Windows 8, they could read his company blog. He answered questions from the audience and then left the resort, while his colleagues remained until the next day.

In an e-mail to employees, Sinofsky said the decision to leave “was a personal and private choice.”