The president of Microsoft’s all-important Windows division from 2009 through 2012, Sinofsky was also heavily involved in the Office products for a decade and oversaw development of the highly successful Windows XP.
Business Insider and others openly named Sinofsky as Ballmer’s heir apparent, the Microsoft CEO-in-waiting. The guy knew Windows and Office (the company’s crown jewels) inside and out, and he was leading the charge to a post-PC future with the tablet-friendly Windows 8.
However, with the release of Windows 8, the wheels fell off the Sinofsky bus. While the poor reception of the long-awaited but critically panned OS was never blamed for his departure, Ballmer fired Sinofsky just weeks after Windows 8 dropped.
With Ballmer on his way out, could Sinofsky return to reclaim what once seemed to be his destiny, to lead Microsoft?
Reality Check: Sinofsky was let go less than a year ago and Ballmer — the guy who fired him — is likely to have at least some say in who his successor will be. Presumably, Ballmer won’t be too keen on changing his mind, especially so soon. There also were reports that Sinofsky’s aggressive management style had alienated other Microsoft executives, including Bill Gates. A polarizing leader who likely has some unfinished fights with existing senior staff probably is not what Microsoft needs right now.