Microsoft’s decision to push out Steven Sinofsky is a really big mistake, says Farhad Manjoo at Slate:With Sinofsky’s departure, Microsoft is rudderless at a time of intense competition. He was the firm’s most thoughtful executive, certainly more perceptive about technology than Ballmer. Sinofsky had a firm vision about where the PC industry should go.
The problem with this idea is that Sinofsky isn’t really a visionary. Here’s a take from our big profile of Sinofsky:
The only trouble with [a comparison to Steve Jobs], according to detractors, is that Sinofsky lacks the vision of Steve Jobs. His products keep the business going, but they don’t inspire.
One person who left recently puts it like this: “His delivery track record is exceptional. But the excitement level is not. There hasn’t been a lot of excitement around his products.”
A former exec explains, “He’s not a creative guy, he’s not going to inspire creativity in others.”
A different former exec says Sinofsky’s strengths are elsewhere. “Steven is much, much stronger at fixing and refining and tuning and improving.”
For all the scorn directed at Steve Ballmer for missing the rise of the iPhone and iPad, an equal amount of scorn should be aimed at Sinofsky. He was at Microsoft the whole time Apple and Google upended the computing markets with their mobile operating systems.
Windows 7, Sinofsky’s biggest claim to fame at Microsoft, came out in July 2009. Six months later Apple released the iPad, which ultimately sent Microsoft scrambling to catch up, producing the Surface.
If Sinofsky had his hand on the tiller, and knew what was happening in the PC market, why didn’t he make Windows 7 more touch-friendly? Why didn’t he get Microsoft to make the Surface in 2009?
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