Yesterday I read a tweet that Sinofsky was leaving Microsoft and my immediate thoughts were along the lines of most – oh, it is early but not unexpected.
As I read countless more news articles about the event and listen to others give their assertion as to what is happen and how it was not as bad as it looks and so on I simply come to a single conclusion.
Worst retirement party ever.
If you read Sinofsky’s parting letter mixed with Steve Ballmer’s as expected carefully polished internal email one would assume it was a parting of positivity not negativity.
The reality is you do not take a high powered executive like Sinofsky and have him resign effective immediately you setup what they did with Bill Gates – a long goodbye. You temper both your internal staff and external shareholders with a 3month transition at the very least (maybe 6 month). You want to make it feel as if it is Steve Sinofsky’s choice and he now wants to leave Microsoft and go paint in Italy or something mundane like that.
Bring a sense of calm because if you don’t, well you have his name trending in twitter and conspiracy theories that make Microsoft look like they have zero control over the PR beast.
The latter is what actually has happened, Microsoft lost control over this entire thing and that is the part that I think is the most interesting. I personally do not think this was a calm exit, from everything I know about this company this entire issue has been simmering for some time and I think it came down to a titanic power play which seemingly backfired on Steve Sinofsky.
I wonder how the whole thing played out though; I mean you had Steve Ballmer on stage at the Build keynote giving a technical demo that actually did not do any harm – which to be clear in all the years of Microsoft I have never seen before.
That sent some mixed signals early on, as to say “hmm.. Steve Sinofsky is a vain person who likes to soak up his victories, why on earth would he be sidelined at the crowning moment?”
It could very well have been a planned departure – I doubt it – but if that were to be true then first thing Microsoft Board needs to do is figure out why they are paying their various PR firms money as quite frankly this was a disaster beyond most normal marketing/PR fails the company is used to.
As a friend said once “Microsoft takes every opportunity to fail and then comes back asking for more” in this case he was correct – again.
Lastly, I went to Sweden last week and gave a presentation on decoding the Microsoft roadmap where I talk about the rise of Sinofsky and you can view it here.