Speculation around Steven Sinofsky’s abrupt departure from Microsoft, announced earlier today, continues, with chatter that the Windows exec’s ambitions for the CEO top spot were the final straw. Sinofsky’s immediate exit from Microsoft – and his replacement by Julie Larson-Green and Tami Reller – came as a surprise this morning, but according to unconfirmed insiders was the culmination of tense working conditions and a promotion ultimatum the company couldn’t concede to.
Sinofsky had demanded that Microsoft name him Steve Ballmer’s successor as CEO, Business Insider‘s tipster says, though he would not take the helm until Ballmer’s retirement expected in 2017 at the earliest. However, Microsoft – and Ballmer – refused to comply, even after the Windows head threatened to resign should his request not be granted.
That came amid whispers of stubborn working practices that saw Ballmer forced to step in and smooth relations between Microsoft and its OEM hardware partners. Having sprung Surface on them unexpectedly, Sinofsky supposedly refused to listen to OEM complaints, the WSJ reports, leaving the CEO to handle the concerns.
The same reluctance to compromise also apparently impacted how Microsoft’s own engineers were able to operate within the company, with suggestions that Sinofsky’s tightened reins “curbed the freedom” of staff.
Microsoft declined to comment on the rumors that Sinofsky was angling for the CEO position, and comments from Sinofsky leaked from an internal email to staff that denied a power struggle was the root cause. In that email, Forbes reports, the exec says the suddenness of his departure is simply an attempt to keep the focus on the products and remaining teams at Microsoft.
“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, opportunity, the company or its leadership” Steven Sinofsky