Microsoft Mix-Up: Windows Head Sinofsky Leaves

Microsoft Mix-Up: Windows Head Sinofsky Leaves

Microsoft has been with us for over thirty-five years. Like Apple, the company has been instrumental in turning the computer into something as common as a TV. Both companies reached monumental levels of success, with Apple currently enjoying a year with the title “Most Valuable Company.” But for Microsoft, things aren’t all that rosy.

As new tech companies like Google and Amazon emerged out of the adoption of the internet, Microsoft kept trudging along doing, for the most part, the same things. They remained successful for years, but now their reliance on their traditional way of doing business is catching up to them; change is happening within and outside of the company.

The Next CEO No More

Bill Rigby for Reuters informs us that “23-year veteran Steven Sinofsky … is the latest – and most prominent – in a line of high-profile departures from” Microsoft. Sinofsky joined the company in the late 1980s and was well-liked by Bill Gates, essentially working as his technical assistant. Not long after joining, Sinofsky became in charge of the company’s Windows unit.

Sinofsky was believed by many to be the next CEO of the company. Bill Rigby quotes a tech analyst in his article stating, “This is shocking news. This is very surprising.” It’s also very surprising that Microsoft just released their new flagship software and bounce-back platform, Windows 8. Their stock has been relatively stagnant, but many in the company are hoping that Windows 8 lights a fire under it.

Why did Sinofsky leave? According to Anita Li at Mashable, a letter from Sinofsky says he explained that his decision “was a personal and private choice,” and that it’s not in any way a reflection on the company and its future.

Change Underway at Microsoft

In attempts to get over its stale performance over the last ten years or so, Microsoft is finally trying to catch up to modern tech companies. I never completely understood how Microsoft could have possibly made as much money as it did, but I suppose figuring that out will take a few Google searches I’ve been too lazy to make. Regardless, Microsoft still does well, but they haven’t been impressing or improving like they should be.

Their shift in strategy is obvious, whether it’s working or not requires a bit more energy to figure out. Microsoft has been emulating both Apple and Google for the past few years. In what ways? First of all, Microsoft unveiled Bing as direct competition to Google’s search and is currently second, behind a dominant Google. Many of Microsoft’s services have been remodeled to match Google’s services, just take a look at the new Outlook email, described by Microsoft as a “free modern email service.”

Modernization? Maybe, but it looks like Catch-Up to me.

In that quote, you see what is behind Microsoft’s many moves lately: modernization. They became stagnant, stale, and boring. Now they are playing catch-up and attempting to unify their company and products to engineer a newer, more relatable brand to today’s tech consumers. Their performance is yet another example of the importance of constantly pushing the envelope and trying new things. That applies in numerous areas of business, from marketing and advertising, to sales and customer service.

Because they haven’t pushed innovation and direction like Apple and Google, they have been playing catch-up in the mobile phone market. Even with a smart phone operating system that constantly gets great marks from reviewers, they just can’t quite make a significant dent in the market.

The recent release of the Surface tablet is their attempt at taking on Apple, Amazon, and Google in the increasingly competitive tablet market as well. Will all of these moves and changes at Microsoft work? I’m not sure, but for competitions sake, let’s all hope so.

Do you think Microsoft will be able to improve its sluggish performance with their recent offerings?

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Patrick currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is studying for a Master's Degree in Intercultural Relations. Upon graduation from Penn State in 2008, he spent two years overseas in Kyrgyzstan with the U.S. Peace Corps. While writing is currently his chosen way to put food on the table, he loves fitness and exercise, which he believes makes up for his avid computer gaming habit.

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