Ballmer’s memo on Windows chief’s surprise departure

Here’s the full text of the memo that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer sent to employees a short time ago, breaking the news that Steven Sinofsky, the Windows president, is leaving the company.

From: Steve Ballmer
Sent: Monday, November 12, 2012 5:16 PM
To: Microsoft – All Employees (QBDG)
Subject: Windows Leadership Changes

Over the past few months we have delivered the foundation for a new era for Microsoft. From Office to Bing to Windows Phone and Windows Azure, to Xbox and of course Windows and Surface and everything in between, we’ve unleashed a huge wave of devices and services that people and businesses love. I simply couldn’t be more proud of the effort you have all put in to get us here and to set the foundation for our future. At the Windows launch in New York, at the Windows Phone event in San Francisco, and again at the Build event on Redmond campus, I was struck that while externally many people look at these events as the finish line, they really represent the starting line of a new era.

As we enter this new era, and with the successful launch of Windows 8 and Surface behind us, Steven Sinofsky has decided to leave the company. Steven joined Microsoft in 1989 as a software development engineer and has contributed to the company in many ways from his work as a technical advisor to Bill Gates, to leading the evolution of the Microsoft Office business, to his direction and successful leadership of Windows and Windows Live as well as Surface. I am grateful for the work that Steven has delivered in his time at our company.

Effective immediately, Julie Larson-Green will lead Windows engineering. She will be responsible for all product development for Windows and Windows Live, in addition to Surface. Julie has been a stalwart leader of building compelling “experiences” from her time on Internet Explorer, through the evolution of Office and most recently to the re-imagination of Windows. Her unique product and innovation perspective and proven ability to effectively collaborate and drive a cross company agenda will serve us well as she takes on this new leadership role. All of the current Windows engineering teams will report into Julie, and Julie will report to me.

Tami Reller will lead business and marketing strategy for Windows including Surface and partner devices. She will provide broad stewardship to our PC marketing efforts while managing the line business functions for Windows. Her work on Windows since 2007 has been exemplary and her strong talents in working with internal groups and partners will also serve us well. Tami also will report to me.

We are facing a time of great opportunity. What we have accomplished over the past few years is nothing short of amazing, and I know we have more amazing in us. I am excited about our people, I am energized by our ability to change and grow, and I look forward to the success which lies ahead. Thank you for all you do, and please join me in congratulating our new leadership and celebrating all that we have accomplished so far.

Steve

  • John Kurc

    When will Ballmer be fired?

    • Guest

      When someone is around long enough to be a viable replacement and the board finally decides to move against him before he kills yet another potential rival.

      Make no mistake: this is a purge. Sinofsky was shown the door.

      • guest

        Gates will never fire Ballmer, and the rest of the board will never overrule Gates. Therefore, Steve will only go when shareholders force it.

  • MS is a falling knife

    All Ballmer did today was further weaken the company’s competitiveness, as he has for thirteen years now. And the timing of this could not be worse. Apple has the business and stock momentum to fire a Forstall w/o major impact. MS doesn’t. The PC market is in trouble and MS stock has been a POS for more than a decade. W8 and Surface are critical to the company’s future and the launches are only just underway. The real work to make them successful is still ahead.

    I doubt the market is going to react favorably to this firing either. Sinofsky is seen as someone who a) understands technology and b) delivers, unlike Ballmer. A number of key Windows managers and executives will probably also jump ship in the weeks and months ahead. Meanwhile some other less capable executives, probably in groups that have been losing billions and failing for years, will rejoice.

  • Guest

    Thank you, Steve, for continuing to light the way. Microsoft is stronger now than it has ever been. With its only competitors for the consumer space having died or run astray, the company is poised to continue being the de facto standard in mobile*, home computering, office computering, and entertainment technology.

    Happy trails to Stephen, godspeed to the new Windows leaders, and thank you once again to all the men and women who make Seattle the world’s center for compuvelopment.

    * Android and Windows Phone collectively represent nearly 80% of the smartphone market.

    • guest

      “Microsoft is stronger now than it has ever been.”

      Then why is current and anticipated future growth the weakest it has ever been? Why is the stock once again ending the year with performance below even the indices? Why is a well known investor like Jim Rogers saying to short it?

      • Guest

        Susan, weren’t you just telling me to buy Apple stock at $700 a share? I don’t really think that you should be giving me investment advice at a time like this. Please drink your cocoa ration, get some rest, and be on time for your meeting with the VCs tomorrow morning. We don’t want you begging for your old Microsoft job back!

        • Guest

          Huh?

    • Guest

      Are you being sarcastic? According to Gartner’s August numbers, Windows has a whopping 2.7% of the mobile market.

  • shareholder

    Thank you Bill and Steve for losing another $8 billion of our money on your latest idiotic decision.

  • guest

    Ballmer’s promise that this would be “the most epic year in Microsoft’s history” seems to be going off script again.