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Former Windows boss Sinofsky lands Harvard teaching gig

After Microsoft, time for a 'sabbatical'

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Former Microsoft Windows boss Steven Sinofsky is leaving corporate life behind – at least for a while – for a new gig teaching product development at Harvard Business School.

The former exec, who stepped down from his position at Microsoft in November, dished the news in a Twitter post on Wednesday, in which he described his move to Harvard as a "sabbatical."

This won't be Sinofsky's first time on the campus. He also spent time at Harvard in 1998 as a "visiting scholar," a period he also described as a sabbatical. At the time, he had already been working at Microsoft for nine years.

According to other Sinofsky tweets, he will be teaching this time, and although he's not entirely sure what his subjects will be yet, he expects his classroom to involve "product dev, planning, collaboration, and more."

His position will be classified as an "Executive in Residence," Sinofsky said, and he will be "on call" while writing and researching, adding, "Can't wait to learn from students!!"

Sinofsky has remained tight-lipped about the exact reasons for his departure from Microsoft, though many Redmond-watchers have speculated that he was encouraged to resign due to personality conflicts between Sinofsky and other top Microsoft execs – possibly even CEO Steve Ballmer himself.

But Sinofsky has consistently denied such rumors. In a letter to Microsoft employees, he wrote, "Some might notice a bit of chatter speculating about this decision or timing. I can assure you that none could be true as this was a personal and private choice that in no way reflects any speculation or theories one might read about me, new opportunities, the company or its leadership."

Ballmer, likewise, has shed little light on the matter, saying little more than, "Sinofsky's departure was his decision. We wish him well..."

Ballmer opted not to name a direct replacement for Sinofsky, choosing instead to elevate two other Microsoft execs, Julie Larson-Green and Tami Reller, to act as co-heads of the company's Windows division, which also oversees Windows-powered hardware devices such as Surface.

Since Sinofsky's defenestration, rumors about his next move have swirled, with some speculating that he could be planning to become a "Trojan horse" for Microsoft by taking a senior position at a friendly company, such as HP or Research in Motion.

Wednesday's announcement should finally put the kibosh on such gossip, although Sinofsky has yet to say exactly when he plans to begin his Harvard residence or how long he intends to remain there. ®

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