Ex-Microsoft exec Sinofsky denies he tried to take over Windows Phone unit
Days after Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) former Windows division head Steven Sinofsky exited the company, he has resurfaced to refute rumors his departure was predicated by a failed attempt to assume control over the Windows Phone mobile operating system unit.
Microsoft announced Sinofsky's departure Monday--the move followed just days after the launches of the Windows 8 desktop platform and the Surface tablet, projects he supervised. Microsoft has not disclosed the circumstances behind Sinofsky's exit, but a blog post published by onetime Microsoft engineer Hal Berenson speculates "Steven had apparently lost recent battles to bring both Windows Phone and the Developer Division under his control. I suspect that he saw those [losses] both as a roadblock to where he wanted to take Windows over the next few years, and a clear indication that his political power within Microsoft had peaked."
Sinofsky replied to Berenson's statement in the comments section below the original blog entry, writing "I never initiated any discussions to bring together the organizations/products you describe, and no one ever approached me to manage them as part of Windows 7 or 8… If we had worked together you would know that historically, very few things moved into teams I managed as (you've no doubt seen in internal blogs) and when they did I usually pushed back hard looking for a cross-group way to achieve the goal (in other words, decide open issues rather than force an org change to subsequently decide something). It is far better to collaborate with the org in place and avoid the disruption unless it is on a product cycle boundary and far better to plan and execute together than just organize together."
Citing sources with knowledge of the situation, The Verge reports Sinofsky's resistance to internal collaboration was the primary catalyst behind his departure. Insiders say he would frequently battle to protect the Windows division against certain changes and withheld critical information on the Windows roadmap from rival executives.
Following Sinofsky's exit, Julie Larson-Green will assume control of Windows software and hardware engineering, and Microsoft CFO Tami Reller will take charge of the Windows business. Terry Myerson serves as corporate vice president of the Windows Phone division, overseeing strategy, development, marketing and sales; he works alongside Joe Belfiore, the corporate vice president in charge of the Windows Phone engineering team.
Microsoft unveiled Windows Phone 8 late last month. The revamped platform touts multi-core Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) chipsets to bolster smartphone performance and optimize battery life, a choice of three screen resolutions, integration of VoIP and video chat, a customizable start screen and Wallet Hub, which supports Near Field Communications-enabled m-commerce services. Users can also share content across Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 for PCs and Xbox gaming consoles. U.S. carriers Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile USA have all pledged to support Windows Phone 8 devices.
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