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Business

Steven Sinofsky: Windows division head leaves Microsoft

Steven Sinofsky
Image caption Mr Sinofsky oversaw the launch of Windows 8 the latest edition of its flagship product

Steven Sinofsky, the head of Microsoft's Windows division, has left the company with immediate effect.

His departure comes just weeks after Microsoft launched Windows 8, the latest edition of its flagship product, seen as key to the firm's future.

Microsoft did not give any reason for Mr Sinofsky's departure.

However, one industry watcher suggested there had been talk of an internal "war" between Mr Sinofsky and chief executive Steve Ballmer.

Markets took the news badly, with Microsoft's shares ending the trading day on Tuesday 4% lower.

The company said Julie Larson-Green would be promoted to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering.

"This is shocking news. This is very surprising," said Brendan Barnicle, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities.

He added that many observers saw Mr Sinofsky as a potential successor to Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's chief executive.

In a letter to all employees, published by Forbes, Mr Sinofsky set out to quell the rumours about his departure.

"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," he said.

"It is impossible to count the blessings I have received over my years at Microsoft," he added.

Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with research firm Gartner, said that Mr Sinofsky's were big boots to fill.

"The reasons why he left don't matter all that much but the big question is about how Microsoft fills the void," he said.

"He did a lot more than head up a division, he had a unified vision of Microsoft as an ecosystem, tying together the PC, phone, tablet, Xbox and online services. The ramifications of his departure are yet to be felt."

He added that the immediacy of his departure was "strange".

"You don't often see that at that level," he said.

'A new era'

Mr Sinofksy's departure is the latest change at the top of some of the world's biggest technology companies.

Market Data - BBC News

Market Data

Share Prices

Markets

UK markets
UK markets % change Value
Change
-1.08%
7529.81
-81.83
-0.72%
20362.76
-147.00
Europe markets
Europe markets % change Value
Change
-0.96%
556.10
-5.38
-1.12%
5342.70
-60.71
-1.08%
12225.31
-133.56
-0.98%
3376.00
-33.44
-1.30%
9383.30
-123.70
US markets
US markets % change Value
Change
-0.49%
25175.50
-124.42
0.00%
7870.89
0.00
0.00%
2839.96
0.00
Asia markets
Asia markets % change Value
Change
+0.55%
37852.00
+207.10
-1.55%
27323.59
-429.34
-0.68%
22204.22
-151.86
As of 13:41 15 Aug 2018

Currencies

GBP
% change One £ buys
Change
GBP against Euro
-0.04%
€1.1207
0.0000
GBP against Yen
-0.52%
¥140.6150
-0.7400
GBP against USD
-0.31%
$1.2680
-0.0040
USD
% change One $ buys
Change
USD against Euro
+0.25%
€0.8838
+0.0020
USD against GBP
+0.28%
£0.7886
+0.0020
USD against Yen
-0.27%
¥110.8450
-0.3050
Euro
% change One € buys
Change
Euro against GBP
+0.06%
£0.8924
+0.0010
Euro against Yen
-0.46%
¥125.4950
-0.5800
Euro against USD
-0.24%
$1.1316
-0.0030
Yen
% change One ¥ buys
Change
Yen against Euro
+0.48%
€0.0080
0.0000
Yen against GBP
+0.53%
£0.0070
0.0000
Yen against USD
+0.28%
$0.0090
0.0000
As of 13:40 15 Aug 2018

Commodities

Oil
Commodity % change dollars per barrel
Change
Brent Crude Oil Futures
-0.92%
71.79
-0.67
WTI Crude Oil Futures
-1.12%
66.29
-0.75
Gold
Commodity % change dollars per ounce
Change
Gold (Forex Index am fix)
-0.76%
1195.30
-9.10
Gold (Forex Index pm fix)
-0.28%
1197.00
-3.35
Natural Gas
Commodity % change dollars per million BTU
Change
Natural Gas (Henry Hub Futures)
-0.41%
2.95
-0.01
As of 13:38 15 Aug 2018

Last month, Apple announced that Scott Forstall, head of its iOS software, and John Browett, head of retail, would be leaving the firm.

The announcement followed problems with Apple's new mapping software and disappointing quarterly results.

Meanwhile, Yahoo - which has been trying to regain some of its lost market share - also hired a new chief operating officer in October.

In July the internet company appointed its third chief executive in a year.

Microsoft's Mr Ballmer said the changes in leadership were aimed at ensuring the firm continued to be a dominant player in the sector.

"The products and services we have delivered to the market in the past few months mark the launch of a new era at Microsoft," Mr Ballmer said.

"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."

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