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Sinofsky denies failed putsch led to his defenestration

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Ex-Windows chief Steven Sinofsky has apparently denied that a power grab for Windows Phone and Microsoft’s “developer division” forced his exit.

In comments on a blog here Sinofsky said he’d never “initiated any discussions to bring together” the organisations and he wasn’t approached to manage them as part of his work on Windows 7 or Windows 8.

The comment links through to the former Microsoft exec’s Twitter page suggesting the post is genuine.

Sinofsky was responding to a blog posting by True Mountain Group president and former MS Distinguished Engineer Hal Berenson, who’d said Sinofsky had lost recent battles to bring Windows Phone and the “developer division” under his control.

There isn’t actually a Microsoft “developer division” – developer tools are officially part of the Server and Tools business unit under group president Satya Nadella. Windows Phone is under corporate vice president Terry Myerson.

Berenson adds to the growing weight of comment that Sinofsky had become unpopular inside Microsoft and that his unique working style made collaboration with other Microsoft units difficult. According to Berenson, Sinofsky: “[h]ad alienated most of Microsoft’s senior leadership, if not the bulk of the executive staff. This was in the middle of all the outsider talk that Steven was in line to replace Steve Ballmer as Microsoft CEO.”

Sinofsky may have left Microsoft, but he’s communicating as if he were still there. In responding to Berenson, Sinofsky did not provide any explanation of why he’d suddenly left Microsoft midway through the Windows 8 launch: Windows 8 and Surface RT shipped in October and the Intel-based Windows 8 Pro Surfaces are due next year.

In a claim that beggars belief, Sinofsky reckoned it was all just part of taking a break between product cycles - despite the fact that he had been the leader of an $18bn unit, had been with Microsoft 23 years and had just launched the products Microsoft is staking its future on.

All his former boss, chief executive Steve Ballmer, has said is:

"Sinofsky's departure was his decision. We wish him well..." ®

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