Feeds

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

World must never know the truth behind the Start Button murder

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.