Feeds

Win 8 man Sinofsky's 'retirement' deal: $14m shares, oath of silence

World must never know the truth behind the Start Button murder

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Windows 8 architect Steven Sinofsky has officially “retired” from Microsoft having inked a deal in which he cops a share payout worth $14m in exchange for not joining the competition.

The agreement comes six months after he unexpectedly left the company.

The deal was revealed as Microsoft closed its fiscal year. The company also looks set to move the people who assumed Sinofsky’s responsibilities in the Windows group on to new activities. This could see Sinofsky's former group merged with the Windows phone operation.

According to a Microsoft SEC filing, here, Microsoft has agreed to buy Sinofsky out of the outstanding stock he held up to the end of fiscal 2012 and half of his unvested stock for fiscal 2013 - that's 418,361 shares.

At today’s price, that value is calculated to be $14m; although payments will be made through to August 2016 on their vesting date, so that price could fluctuate.

In return, Sinofsky has agreed not to join unnamed competitors to Microsoft, poach Microsoft staff or disparage Microsoft. He will continue to comply with Microsoft Non Disclosure Agreements (NDAs).

Curiously, Microsoft has also agreed to cover Sinofsky against legal claims stemming from his time working at Microsoft while insisting he must assist his former employer in litigation brought by or against Microsoft.

Sinofsky left Microsoft mid-way through the launch cycle of Windows 8 and Surface in November 2012, with the Intel-based Surface Pro slabs yet to be released.

Neither Microsoft not Sinofsky has given any reason for the exit. At the time, Sinofsky mysteriously called his choice "personal and private", saying he was following his own advice of taking a break between product cycles to "reflect and look ahead". He has since landed as an "executive in residence" at Harvard University while his Twitter account says he is on a sabbatical. Sinofsky had been with Microsoft 23 years, rising through the ranks to lead the Office and then – since 2009 – the Windows Group, where he supervised Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Since his exit, Microsoft has reversed direction on Windows 8 following an outcry and tanking PC sales, releasing the preview of an update that re-introduces a Start Button to help people find their apps, lets you boot to the desktop instead of the new Metro touch-tile UI, and lets you re-size apps from the Windows Store.

Sinofsky is not the first Microsoft exec whose departure has been classified as a retirement – former Information and Device chief Robbie Bach also “retired” in 2010.

The settlement comes as Microsoft is reported to be close to one of its usual bouts of re-organization and management shuffling. Julie Larson-Green, who took over the engineering facet of Sinofsky’s role after he left, is reported to be headed towards overseeing hardware engineering for the whole company, giving her oversight for Surface, Xbox and mobile. Tami Reller, running the business and marketing of Windows, will take over a marketing unit.

Windows Phone software chief Terry Myerson is reported to be getting added responsibility for Windows engineering in a group that would combine Windows and Windows mobile.

Satya Nadella, head of the server and tools, will oversee a unit focused on cloud computing and products for corporate customers, while online vice president Qi Lu will run an applications and services engineering unit comprised of online businesses. Tony Bates, head of Skype, will be moved to acquisitions and “relationships with software developers".

Microsoft has refused to comment on any of the changes.

If true, the reshuffle should be enacted and announced soon, so as to take effect covering most of the new fiscal year that began on 1 July. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.