Sinofsky Takes Over Windows Unit at Microsoft

Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky
Steven Sinofsky
Source: Microsoft

Microsoft announced Wednesday that Steven Sinofsky, formerly senior vice president for Windows and Windows Live Engineering, has been promoted to president of the Windows Division. Now he’s got responsibility for the whole Windows enchilada — from engineering to marketing.

Sinofsky is a 20-year Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) employee and distinguished himself in the late 1990s and the early 2000s in part for his work on Office. In particular, he successfully drove a series of successful and on-time Office releases, including Office 2003 and Office 2007.

“With this transition, we want to ensure we are setting up for the next release and continue the market leadership and momentum that we have with Windows today,” CEO Steve Ballmer said in an e-mail to employees Wednesday.

The promotion comes as Microsoft completes the final steps to ready Windows 7 for launch on October 22. Windows 7 is currently in the last phase of testing and cleaning up last-minute bugs before the code is signed off and “Released to Manufacturing” (RTM). At that point, the final code goes to PC makers and software retailers to get ready for the system’s launch, just in time for the holiday shopping season.

Although much of his time at the company had been spent working on Office, in the throes of the stumbling Windows Vista project, Sinofsky was moved over to take charge in March 2006. Although by that time, it was too late to impact Vista, he is widely regarded as the executive who got Windows 7 on the ground running quickly, a move that many observers think may save the Windows franchise for Microsoft.

He is also known as one of the key Microsoft executives who first called the Internet to Chairman Bill Gates attention in the early 1990s.

The appointment means that all five Microsoft divisions are now headed by a president. Besides Sinofsky as chief of Windows, he joins presidents Stephen Elop of the Business Division, Bob Muglia of the Server and Tools Division, Qi Lu of the Online Services Division, and Robbie Bach of the Entertainment and Devices Division.

Sinofsky reports directly to CEO Ballmer. The promotion also means some reshuffling of the Windows Division executive structure.

For instance, Bill Veghte, senior vice president of the Windows Division who was responsible for Windows marketing, will transfer to a different job at a later date. In the meantime, his duties will be picked up by current Windows Division CFO Tami Reller.

Ballmer credited Veghte for successfully reinvigorated the division’s marketing efforts with, for example, the “I’m a PC’ ads.

Not all current executives will be reshuffled, however.

Jon DeVaan will remain senior vice president, reporting to Sinofsky.

“In this role, Jon will continue to manage the engineering team responsible for creating the core components of both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 and is responsible for the PC ecosystem engagement and technical readiness,” Ballmer’s e-mail said.

According to Microsoft, Sinofsky got his undergraduate degree at Cornell University in 1987, and a masters in computer science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1989. In 1998, Sinofsky was a visiting scholar at Harvard Business School.

The reshuffling comes just after the company closed its books for fiscal 2009. Fiscal 2010 began July 1.

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