Steven Sinofsky

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Steven Jay Sinofsky
Sinofsky making a "7" hand gesture at the announcement of Windows 7
Born1965 (age 58–59)
EducationCornell University (BA)
University of Massachusetts Amherst (MS)
Known forPresident, Windows Division at Microsoft
SpouseMelanie Walker

Steven Jay Sinofsky (born 1965)[1] is an American businessman and software engineer.

He served as president of the Windows Division at Microsoft from July 2009 until his resignation on November 13, 2012.[2][3] He was responsible for the development and marketing of Windows, Internet Explorer, and online services such as and SkyDrive.[4]

As of 2015, Sinofsky is a board partner at Andreessen Horowitz, where he serves on boards of investments.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Steven Sinofsky was born in New York City in 1965 to parents Marsha and David Sinofsky. Growing up, Sinofsky attended Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs, Florida. Subsequently, he attained his Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University, after graduating cum laude in 1987, in the fields of chemistry and computer science. Furthermore, he pursued his postgraduate education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he acquired a Masters of Science in computer science in 1989.[4] He also spent 3 semesters learning Russian while he was in college.[6]

Sinofsky married neurosurgeon Melanie S. Walker, a mutual acquaintance of Bill Gates and Jeffrey Epstein. She and Boris Nikolic (b. 1971 Zagreb) were members of Gates’s inner circle and close to Epstein and at times functioned as intermediaries between the two men. In 2006, Walker joined the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as senior program officer.[7]


In July 1989, Sinofsky joined Microsoft as a software design engineer.

In 1994, when the Office Product Unit was formed, Sinofsky joined the team as the director of program management, and led the design of the shared technologies in Microsoft Office 95 and Microsoft Office 97. In 1994, during a recruiting visit to his alma mater, Cornell University, Sinofsky met a student, Sumeet Malhotra, who showed Sinofsky how he had helped in making Cornell “wired” by building a digital business-in-a-box system (called “Bear Access”) which comprehensively enabled most of the important higher education business operations at Cornell (including student account access, student grading, communication between different departments, faculty and students) during those early internet days. Sinofsky reported this back at Microsoft, which led to the creation of the “Internet Explorer”.[8] Sinofsky spent about four years as a software design engineer and project lead in the Development Tools group, where he helped lead the development of the first versions of the Microsoft Foundation Classes C++ library for Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Visual C++.

He previously oversaw the development of the Microsoft Office system of programs, servers and services, responsible for the product development of Microsoft Office 2007 and its new ribbon UI. Prior to that he also oversaw the development of Microsoft Office 2003, Microsoft Office XP, and Microsoft Office 2000.

Sinofsky was actively involved in recruiting for Microsoft. His particular task was to convince engineers not to move to Google. Sinofsky has blogged in detail about his efforts at Steven Sinofsky's Microsoft TechTalk, about what it's like to be a Microsoft employee, and what new hires in general most of the time never suspect or know about Microsoft, Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, and Windows.

Sinofsky at the Windows division[edit]

Steven Sinofsky became the president of the Windows division in July 2009. His first heavily involved projects included Windows Live Wave 3 and Internet Explorer 8. Sinofsky and Jon DeVaan also headed the development of the next major version of Windows to come after Windows Vista, Windows 7.

Sinofsky's philosophy on Windows 7 was to not make any promises about the product or even discuss anything about the product until Microsoft was sure that it felt like a quality product. This was a radical departure from Microsoft's typical way of handling in-development versions of Windows, which was to publicly share all plans and details about it early in the development cycle. Sinofsky also refrained from labeling versions of Windows "major" or "minor", and instead just called them releases.

Under Sinofsky's leadership, the Windows Division successfully shipped the successor to Windows Vista, Windows 7, which had a rapidly growing user-base of over 450 million.[9] The success of Windows 7 contributed to record-breaking revenue earnings for Microsoft in 2010.[10]

Sinofsky's leadership style influenced many other Microsoft divisions to follow his principles and practices on product development.[citation needed]

Sinofsky and Windows executive Jon DeVaan worked as editors for the Engineering Windows 7 blog.

Sinofsky worked on Windows 8 and regularly blogged about the feature set and the process of developing the new OS in his blog, Building Windows 8.[11]

Sinofsky left Microsoft on December 31, 2012.[12] His departure was described by both parties as a mutual decision,[3] but widely seen externally as the result of a power struggle or friction between himself – tipped as a future leader of the company – and CEO Steve Ballmer.[13][14] Technology website Ars Technica drew attention to the sense of staffing changes after a major project – the Windows 8 rollout,[15] but also noted the abrupt and exceptional manner of departure and a similar analysis of recent politics within Microsoft by ZDNet.[16] Sinofsky was succeeded by Julie Larson-Green and Tami Reller. Larson-Green will run the engineering function of Windows, while Reller will oversee the business operations.[17] Microsoft disclosed in an SEC filing that Sinofsky would have a one-year non-compete contract in exchange for an estimated $14M of stock.[18]


One Strategy: Organization, Planning, and Decision Making, published by John Wiley & Sons in November 2009, was co-authored by Sinofsky and Marco Iansiti of Harvard Business School.

The book discusses Sinofsky's struggle with refocusing the Windows Division after the Vista debacle, and the planning and development of the next major version of Windows that would come after Vista. Sinofsky talks about the focus of making a desirable high-quality product, while making no promises to the public, and shipping and delivering that product on time.


  1. ^ "One strategy! : Organization, planning, and decision making / Steven Sinofsky, Marco Iansiti". Archived from the original on 2011-08-23. Retrieved 2011-08-23.
  2. ^ "Microsoft Promotes Steven Sinofsky to President, Windows Division". 2009-07-08. Retrieved 2012-11-16.
  3. ^ a b Savitz, Eric (2012-11-12). "Microsoft Shocker: Windows President Steven Sinofsky Out (Updated)". Forbes. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Steven Sinofsky". Microsoft. July 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  5. ^ "Team". Retrieved 2015-06-15.
  6. ^ "Steven Sinofsky, Julie Larson-Green, Antoine Leblond, Michael Angiulo, and Chris Jones: BUILD Keynote – Day 1". Retrieved 2012-11-16.
  7. ^ Bill Gates Met With Jeffrey Epstein Many Times, Despite His Past,, 12 October 2019
  8. ^ "Sinofsky was the heir apparent at Microsoft". BusinessStandard. 2011-09-13. Retrieved 2012-11-16.
  9. ^ "Microsoft Sold 450 Million Copies Of Windows 7". TechCrunch. 2011-09-13. Retrieved 2012-11-16.
  10. ^ "Microsoft posts record-breaking Q2, thanks to consumers, Windows 7". NetworkWorld. 2010-01-28. Retrieved 2015-10-16.
  11. ^ "Building Windows 8 – Site Home – MSDN Blogs". Retrieved 2012-11-16.
  12. ^ "Item 5.02(e). Departure of Directors or Certain Officers; Election of Directors; Appointment of Certain Officers; Compensatory Arrangements of Certain Officers". 2013-07-13. Retrieved 2013-08-26.
  13. ^ Arthur, Charles (2012-11-13). "Windows chief Steven Sinofsky pushed out of Microsoft". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 November 2012. Microsoft staff stunned as chief executive Steve Ballmer pushes out man many had seen as his successor
  14. ^ Dunkley, Jamie (2012-11-13). "Mystery surrounds Windows president Steven Sinofsky's departure from Microsoft". The Independent. Archived from the original on 2022-05-25. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
  15. ^ Bright, Peter (2012-11-13). "Why Steven Sinofsky is out at Microsoft: Of several plausible reasons, only one rings true". Ars Technica. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
  16. ^ Foley, Mary Jo (2012-11-13). "Sinofsky's departure from Microsoft: Politics or products to blame?". ZDNet. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
  17. ^ Thomas, Owen (2012-11-12). "Meet The Two Women Now Running Microsoft's Most Important Business – Yahoo! Finance". Retrieved 2012-11-16.
  18. ^ June 2013 Microsoft SEC filing

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]