Reading the Microsoft Tea Leaves

So Steven Sinofsky, the head of Windows development, leaves Microsoft all of a sudden, and Ballmer basically has nothing good to say about him. The story gets picked up by an IT gossip rag, where we read this:

However, multiple sources within Microsoft describe Sinofsky as abrasive and off-putting, aggressively maintaining his control over products and putting up roadblocks for products that would have any potential to diminish the Windows (and therefore his) power…

via Sources inside Microsoft say a clash of personalities led to Sinofsky’s departure | The Verge.

My money says that this is a controlled “leak” of information to put a Microsoft-favorable spin on the situation. I’m betting that Sinofsky has seen the writing on the wall for Windows 8 and Surface, and hit the bricks while his street cred is still intact. If the market takes a collective pass on the Apple-like play Microsoft is making, he’s not going to be a very popular guy once the numbers become visible to outsiders. I think he’s getting out while the getting is good.

I see a future where Microsoft becomes relegated to an IBM-like company, where they have their niches, but their impact on consumers is much reduced. IBM still owns mainframes and minis, and will for a long time to come. Microsoft will still own Exchange and Active Directory, but the choice of client to access email, file, and print services is getting really, really democratic these days. Of course big companies are still Microsoft silos, but everyone I know is buying Macs. Like, everyone. And not just iPhones. iPads, iPods, iMacs, MacBooks. The whole shooting match! And Apple’s products integrate in ways Microsoft can only dream about. The consumer market has moved past Microsoft, and I don’t think Surface is going to catch it. At least, I hope not.

It’s not that I want Microsoft to die; it’s just that I want them to stop exerting the kind of influence in the market that has led to the awful UEFI mess we Linux users are having to put up with now. If they wind up owning the same sort of market share in tablets as they do in smart phones, this sort of thing may be cut off now, before it gets worse. Early reports are hopeful in this regard.

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