Steven Sinofsky, the president of both Microsoft's Windows and Windows Live divisions, is leaving the company with immediate effect, the software giant announced today.
No reason has been given for Sinofsky's departure, which comes shortly after he helped launch Microsoft's new Windows 8, the Surface tablet and Office products.
The official announcement from Microsoft has Sinofsky praising the company: “It is impossible to count the blessings I have received over my years at Microsoft.
"I am humbled by the professionalism and generosity of everyone I have had the good fortune to work with at this awesome company.”
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer noted that while the firm had "built an incredible foundation" on the back of recent product releases, "to continue this success it is imperative that we continue to drive alignment across all Microsoft teams, and have more integrated and rapid development cycles for our offerings.”
Sinofsky is a 23-year veteran of Microsoft who started there as a software development engineer and worked as a technical adviser to Bill Gates, according to an email to employees from Steve Ballmer, obtained by The Verge.
However, tensions between Sinofsky and Microsoft top management had been growing and he was seen as "not being the kind of team player the company company was looking for", All Things Digital reported.
Scott Barnes of user interface design firm Riagenic and former .NET product manager, agrees that Sinofsky "hadn't been making friends at the top of Microsoft" as he took over the Windows and Office helms, two of the company's most important product lines.
Ballmer may have felt threatened by Sinofsky, who was widely tipped to become Microsoft's next chief executive, Barnes said.
"He pushed the envelope too far," Barnes said.
"The timing is bad for Windows 8. It's not a good time to fire a top executive, especially the guy who sorted out Vista".
Due to the seniority of Sinofsky, he is likely to have non-compete clauses in his employment contract that may restrict him from taking up a position anywhere else over the next few years, Barnes said.
Julie Larson-Green will take over Windows engineering after Sinofsky, as well as the Windows Live online service platform and the Surface tablet development.
Tami Reller takes over buiness and marketing for Windows and Surface, as well as partner devices. Both Larson-Green and Reller will report directly to Ballmer.