back to article Win 8 man Sinofsky's 'retirement' deal: $14m shares, oath of silence

Windows 8 architect Steven Sinofsky has officially “retired” from Microsoft having inked a deal in which he cops a share payout worth $14m in exchange for not joining the competition. The agreement comes six months after he unexpectedly left the company. The deal was revealed as Microsoft closed its fiscal year. The company …


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  1. knarf

    Screwup $14m

    Wish I could get $14 for screwing up a product. In his defense he likely deserves every cent.

    1. John Sanders

      Re: Screwup $14m

      Technically he did not screw anything, dumbing windows down is just another stepping stone to move everything to the cloud, where the old dream can be made true:

      Turn Microsoft into a telco-like entity that can bill for each transaction.

      1. tony2heads


        WIth the telletubby interface

        1. John 62

          Re: telco-like

          Get with the times. The tellytubby interface was Luna, which debuted on Windows XP in 2001 and unless I'm mistaken, Sinofsky was working on the Office team then.

          Interestingly, the Classic theme got better with each Windows release. I thought Windows 98's was hot until 2000 came along. I thought that was cool until XP came along and although it lost the up button on Windows Explorer on Vista's release, 7's Classic theme is excellent. I have yet to try Windows 8, but the Edge UI looks pretty good from screenshots and may make up for the awfulness of the years of Luna and Aero Glass nonsense.

    2. promytius
      Thumb Down

      Re: Screwup $14m

      nothing, not one thing is worth 14 mil. nothing. period. It really is a mad, mad, mad, mad world.

  2. Test Man

    There has to be something really shady to have happened to have Sinofsky get pushed out and subsequently put under a ton of NDAs in return for having his stock bought up. Shady as in operational reasons. Obviously there's been massive speculation regarding Windows 8's direction and (lack of?) sales which may have done it but that can't be all.

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      I don't think conspiracy is needed when incompetence will do.

      Sinofsky may have had his eye on Ballmer's (broken) chair. The Big Sweat can't afford to have competition, so he was given a wad of cash and told to STFU, or else lawyers.

      Or not. But S was clearly ambitious. So as plot lines go, it's not unbelievable.

      It would fun to image a conspiracy where Ballmer and the Board are deliberately driving MS into the ground, for who knows what reason. (So they can be bought by Nokia, and everyone gets an excuse to move to Finland?)

      But it's more likely that everyone involved has been Peter Principled to an appropriate level of inability, and there's no one with clue left on the bridge.

      1. Doug 3

        purposefully ruining Microsoft would not be a very good conspiracy theory as it goes against all rational and irrational thinking of how the CEO and the BOD would operate and chase profits. An alternate theory might be that Ballmer thinks he's channeling Steve Jobs, has the BOD believing it too so therefore he's taking over leadership of all product divisions. Or maybe just forcing every product division head to give himself the final say on product design and direction. The result is the same though.

        He's clearly delusional as he's pushed out anyone who even looks like they might want him replaced and under his watch the only successful product has been the MS Kinect. But even the MS Kinect was only a success became an open source maker( Limor "Ladyada" Fried) funded an open source driver for it and it became a hit in the hacker community. Remember when Microsoft threatened legal action after the driver was announced and published?

      2. Tom 13

        Re: there's no one with clue left on the bridge.

        In this instance it might be fair to ask if there was ever anyone on the bridge with a clue.

        MS has always seemed to me to be more like Forest Gump and the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.

    2. Lorin Thwaits

      Of course just speculation here, but I think Ballmer might have forced Sinofsky to make Windows 8 a tablet-only environment with heavy focus on an AppStore. With Windows 7 Sinofsky had been left to his own devices, and there was success. It doesn't seem plausible that he would jump off the deep end and create such a freakish environment for the next iteration of the product.

      I'm starting to think that Ballmer had forced all of this on him, and he pulled a Pontas Pilate and washed his hands of the whole thing after the project was done. $14M later he won't utter a peep about it.

      Who knows for sure though.

      God I wish Microsoft still had a usable interface. It could spell their demise.

  3. Richard Wharram

    I bet...

    I bet David Icke has a theory!

  4. jmk89

    Changed direction?

    By adding a single button?

    1. Tom 35

      Re: Changed direction?

      Don't forget the new colours and animated backgrounds!

    2. Tom 13

      Re: Changed direction?

      Of course they did. Why it's a whole new PR team with a cool new jingle!

  5. BigAndos

    I would like to personally volunteer my services to Microsoft . I will be happy to completely balls-up Windows 9, but I will only charge $12,000,000. I think this represents exceptional value for money. Some of my ideas include:

    - A new "button roulette" replacing the start button. Enjoy a 1 in 20 chance pressing start will format your hard disk, adding a little excitment to your work day.

    - Increase the alignment between the desktop and mobile sides of the OS by supporting a maximum monitor size of 10 inches

    - Make it so that every 10th keystroke has to be entered via touchscreen. Not using a "touch-enabled" device? Better get on board quick!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      and a cackling paper clip informing you of what has happened?

      1. BigAndos

        Only if it takes up 2GB of RAM while doing so!

    2. gkroog
      Thumb Up


      Heck, I'll do it for $10m...

  6. Anonymous Coward

    I'll believe in a conspiracy...

    ...When it has been proven beyond doubt that the next major Windows release has undone itself (either entirely or partly) from the TIFKAM horror.

    Even so; it could be more than TIFKAM alone I think. Don't forget that with Windows 8 also came a new "display theme"; clearly visible in Office 2013 and Visual Studio 2012 (why they ever decided to let a developer platform follow the look & feel standard of the consumer product line is way beyond me).

    And although taste differs I can't say that I'm very thrilled about that new look and feel. Not at all; especially since it seems to consist of removing all colours and nuances and making the interface as dull and flat as possible.. Yech.

    1. dogged

      Re: I'll believe in a conspiracy...

      "TIFKAM horror?"

      Do you read back what you've written?

      Your problem appears to be that a configurable launcher is different from an old configurable launcher.

      The horror... the horror...

      "Get over yourself" icon required.

      1. Len Goddard

        Re: I'll believe in a conspiracy...

        If he doesn't like the horrible TIFKAM he is entitled to say so. Telling people who speak out against a change they dislike is unnecessary and arrogant.

        If you like TIFKAM you are entitled so say so. The OP here is equally entitled to describe it as a horror. I know who I would agree with

        1. dogged

          Re: I'll believe in a conspiracy...

          I don't love it but it's just a launcher. The start menu was also just a launcher. If either bothered me, I'd change them. It's pretty bloody easy to do so and very well-documented.

          If the aesthetic properties of a tool you work with are enough to shit on your opinion of its utility, you're a bad workman.

          You rarely if ever hear the phrase "ew, the new orange on this hammer is so yucky, what a horror. I'm going back to bashing nails in with my head", do you?

          Too many fucking divas in this industry. Newsflash, people. We are not artists. We are not visionaries. We are not genius savants. We are mechanics. I have been offered a new hammer. It may be ugly but it hammers straighter and it damps recoil better than the old hammer. It also hits just as hard while being considerably lighter to carry around. Does its ugliness concern me?

          No. I have no business being concerned and no right to be concerned. I am not Gok Wan, I am a fucking mechanic.

          1. dogged

            Re: I'll believe in a conspiracy...

            Aw, do the delicate wickle flowers not like the truth? Do they want to believe they are oh-so-special?

            You're not. Grow up.

          2. hplasm

            Re: I'll believe in a conspiracy...

            " You rarely if ever hear the phrase "ew, the new orange on this hammer is so yucky, what a horror. I'm going back to bashing nails in with my head", do you?"

            You do when it turns out that the 'hammer' you thought you were buying turns out to be an orange on a stick.

            1. dogged

              Re: I'll believe in a conspiracy...

              You do when it turns out that the 'hammer' you thought you were buying turns out to be an orange on a stick.

              You don't. Builders don't tend to talk like that.

              In any case, nobody with an iota of professionalism could describe Windows 8 that way. It literally does every single thing that Windows 7 does, plus a whole lot more, plus it runs faster, uses less resources and offers improved tools and a lot more information about those tools.

              Seriously. If you pick Windows 7 over Windows 8 and you're an admin, you suck at your job and you should be fired. Only an idiot would refuse a better tool simply because it comes with a different colour scheme.

              1. Tom 35

                Better tool... Ha, good one.

                Something has happened


                error 1e79879326e884503947e804380543854037032e843984308530

                Yes a better tool...

                The last time I received this so useful messages was when Windows was trying to install an app update. Googling the random string on numbers results in links to so many different problems that I concluded that it really did mean "something happened".

                The actual problem was that automatic update had installed some stuff, but didn't tell me it needed to reboot. The app store could not install an update until I rebooted windows, but could not tell me that.

                I've had Windows 7 do something like that too, but the error message was something like "Windows needs to finish installing updates, please restart. (not that Windows 7 error messages are always that helpful, but they try).

                Windows 8 is both ugly and dumb. Both by design.

                1. dogged


                  I take you're an amateur, then?

                  Because, you know, Event Viewer. It exists for a reason....

                  1. Tom 35

                    Re: @Tom35

                    Yes event viewer is just as dumb.

                    Installation failure: Windows failed to install the following update with error 0x8924200D: Microsft.LyncMX

                    Click online help, get: We're sorry. There is no additional information...

                    So much better then "something happened".

                    So you are expecting every Win8 user to know how to use event viewer now? This is supposed to compete with Android and iOS?

                    By the way it's a royal pain in the arse to use on my surface without plugging in a mouse, and it opens online help in metro-IE not desktop IE.

              2. MysteryGuy

                Re: I'll believe in a conspiracy...

                > In any case, nobody with an iota of professionalism could describe Windows 8 that way.

                > It literally does every single thing that Windows 7 does, plus a whole lot more, ...

                Oh please. I've worked over 30 years as a professional in the IT industry and I think Windows 8 sucks rocks for any serious work on the desktop.

                The intent is to deprecate the 'old desktop', so it's only there while you switch to an all TIFKAM (walled garden) experience.

                I find the low-res, blocky, flat, one and a half Window max. experience not only aesthetically challenged, but also actively impeding my productivity.

                It's not that I need to learn a new way of doing things, it's that I fond the new way horrific and a step backward in productivity.

                You might like it, but I actively hate it...

                1. dogged

                  Re: I'll believe in a conspiracy...

                  You've worked in IT for over 30 years and you can't figure out how to click the Desktop tile or press the Windows key?


                  1. MysteryGuy

                    Re: I'll believe in a conspiracy...

                    > You've worked in IT for over 30 years and you can't figure out how to click the Desktop

                    > tile or press the Windows key?

                    Nope. I just find the whole TIFKAM interface unnecessary and inferior compared to the old desktop way for what I want to do.

                    MS wants you to abandon the desktop, and use only TIFKAM. Not for me thanks.

                    And, if TIFKAM is so great, why don't they just let people decide for themselves? If it's so wonderful people should flock to it based on it's own merits.

                    There should be no need to force people to use it...

                    1. dogged

                      Re: I'll believe in a conspiracy...


                      Seriously, why are you acting as if there is no desktop? Because there is. All this "I hate TIFKAM" bullshit is just a distraction, regardless of what twisted reasoning you give it, because the desktop is still there and it has been improved.

                      I see the tiles once per day on boot. Then, because my desktop tile is first in the stack I press the RETURN key and all I get is Desktop.

                      Tell me, what do you do in your 30 years of IT? Project Management? Cleaning the monitors? Because this is not rocket science. Such visceral hatred for one extra tap on a key is just fucked up.

                      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

                        Re: I'll believe in a conspiracy... @dogged

                        I can see that you have strong feelings about this, but why? Your ire is somewhat out of proportion to the perceived advantages of the new interface(s). Why the one-man crusade for something that you perceive as marginally better?

                        Seriously, there are many tools that are chosen on aesthetics - have you never chosen a car because some functional part of it looks better in some way (nicer dashboard or better seat covering - the job still done the same, but looks or feels better) for the same price? If you claim not, then you probably aren't being truthful with yourself or us.

                        1. dogged

                          @Intractable Potsherd

                          I have to be honest IP, old feller.

                          It's not about Windows 8 which I don't love and which doesn't magically make everything better. It makes a very few minor things better, true, but not enough to get worked up about.

                          What's got me riled up is the massed howling crusade against it when the reasoning is so fucking trivial.

                          If it made major workflow alterations, sure. Wail, scream and go on and on about how bad it is. But a launcher that you rarely if ever see? That's it? That's your "horror"? That's "the abomination that is TIFKAM"?

                          Once we get that petty about a tool for basic usage which is not a huge improvement but is actually an improvement in some regards, well.. somebody needs to step up and point out that acting like a screaming drag-queen over a missing sequin does not do this industry any favours at all.

                          Since nobody else has the balls to tell the emperor that he's Danny la Rue, I have to do it.

                          1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

                            Re: @Intractable Potsherd

                            Thanks, dogged, for the reply. It is interesting to follow the comments about Win8. I have no personal axe to grind (or hammer to ... whatever one does with hammers): Win8 won't be going on any machine of mine in the near (or far) future - I think it is a step in the wrong direction to make a "one size fits all" OS that needs fiddling (even if it is one extra click, which really it isn't) to make it work in the way I want. The default should be old>new, not the other way around.

                            Clearly, there are a lot of people that don't think this is trivial, though.

                      2. Anonymous Coward
                        Thumb Down

                        Re: I'll believe in a conspiracy...

                        I realise it's very "in" to hate windows 8, but with the new updated blue,8.1, whatever I've got on a VM it boots directly into desktop mode with one setting change.

                        That aside, if you think anyone who hasn't jumped directly onto windows 8 is an idiot then I'd suggest a re-think of your position.

                        Sure, for _what_you_do it's great, but I couldn't move half of my clients (SMEs) onto windows 7 without a tonne of ballache (and therefore cost the them) never mind windows 8.

                        Everyone needs to take a step back and realise that the right tool for them isn't the right tool for everyone else, and never mind start flinging about ad-hom attacks purely on that basis.

                      3. MysteryGuy

                        Re: I'll believe in a conspiracy...

                        > Seriously, why are you acting as if there is no desktop?

                        It's clear that the MS plan was (probably still is) to get rid of the desktop, and the future is supposed to be all TIFKAM all the time. The desktop was left as a 'courtesy' while everyone moved to TIFKAM (in their plan). TIFKAM is the main point of Windows 8, isn't it?

                        Even with 8.1 (after setting direct boot) you still don't have the real start-menu.

                        For me, all I want is the Desktop. It sounds like you're saying that with enough work I can get somewhat close to that experience once again with Windows 8.1.

                        Why should I pay money (and expend the effort) so that I can maybe get close to what I already have (and want) with Windows 7? Even then, how long until they deprecate the Desktop away?

                        Sorry, but for me to buy into Windows 8 I would want it to be enough 'better' to justify the pain and expense. When I went from XP to Windows 7 I said 'Yes, this is worth it. It's an improvement'. I had the exact opposite reaction to Windows 8. I would be paying to go backwards.

                        To me, no amount of 'under the hood' tweaking is worth the pain of 'desktop TIFKAM' and where MS wants to lead us with it.

                        1. gkroog
                          Thumb Up


                          You have made a good point here.

                          I have yet to speak in person to anyone who likes Windows 8.

                          Windows 8, besides maybe the Xbox One, is a shining example of how Microsoft just couldn't care less about listening to their users to find out what they want. Then we witness breathtaking back-pedalling by MS while claiming they were listening all along. Yeah, sure.

                          They got an eyeful of the way mobile is going with smartphones and tables, and decided to just try and drag us all that way with TIKFAM.

                          Regarding the UI, Apple doesn't make these sweeping changes to their UI, nor have they tried to shove everyone onto a mobile UI. There's Mac OS, and iOS. Separate, but seamless.

                          MS could have designed Windows 8 and the mobile flavours this way. Build a new OS, make it better "under the hood", but keep the nicer Aero interface and just introduce some real improvements. Doesn't that sound better?

              3. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

                Re: I'll believe in a conspiracy...

                "You do when it turns out that the 'hammer' you thought you were buying turns out to be an orange on a stick."

                "You don't. Builders don't tend to talk like that."

                They would say "It's crap. Gimme another." But then you would deride them anyway.

              4. gkroog


                We chose Windows 7 over Windows 8 because it crashed a whole lot...we even had to reinstall a few machines after trying to install anti-virus...just sayin'

          3. sabroni Silver badge
            Thumb Up


            Good rant! I pretty much agree, but at the same time I should point out that people (not engineers, but end users) find beautiful things easier to work with. Wish I could find a link to the article I read about this, basically there was a study where identical functionality was wrapped in an ugly gui and a beautiful gui and users found the attractive one much easier to use and were keener to use it again. They were also less likely to be put off when they couldn't find what they wanted straight away.

            So while I agree that engineers just need utility I understand when an ugly interface puts them off...

            1. dogged


              What's depressing is that ALL of this Windows8 hate comes from the industry.

              End users look at you as if you're mad when you talk about a learning curve between 7 and 8. As far as they universally seem to be concerned, 8 is easier. Press the big buttons. It's computing for the McDonalds employee level and they like it that way.

            2. gkroog

              Re: @sabroni

              Heck, KDE on Linux looks better than Windows 8...Windows 8 first struck me as being reminiscent of Vista...

              1. Tom 13

                Re: Windows 8 first struck me as being reminiscent of Vista...

                I tend to think of it as 98ME with an AOL 3.0 interface.

          4. Tom 13

            Re: the new orange on this hammer is so yucky, what a horror.

            Of course not.

            There are few barriers to entry in the hammer market, so the ones with proper wooden or black handles are always plentiful and the fools who make yucky orange handled hammers quickly go out of business without anyone ever much noticing they were in it in the first place.

            The same is not true of the desktop market.

          5. Pookietoo

            Re: I am a fucking mechanic

            So how would you like it if someone came into your workshop, removed the size markings from all the sockets and spanners, and stuck them along a wall out of reach of the bench?

            1. dogged


              Please explain how your question is relevant?

        2. Tom 13

          @Len Goddard

          I know with whom I would agree. </pedant>

          Me too.

    2. Doug 3

      Re: I'll believe in a conspiracy...

      let me guess! Developers, developers, developers! They are forcing their developers to eat Ballmers design choices because they are 100% under the control of Microsoft and Microsoft must get mobile apps built and built as fast as possible. Forcing developers to eat the dogfood of that plan means they become jaded to the good/bad of that design and so are made to believe they are just clicks away from a Windows Phone app.

      Seriously, it's all about Microsoft forcing their needs on those they believe they control.

  7. kain preacher

    Sounds like some one knows were the bodies are berried and was paid to keep quiet.

    1. Anonymous Coward 15

      Perhaps the bodies are berried in Berry St Edmunds.

    2. Blitterbug

      Berried Bodies...

      ...A subtle reference to Soylent Green? A dig at the way MS consumes itself? Clever.....

    3. Magnus Ramage
      Black Helicopters

      What kind of berries?

      Strawberries? Loganberries? Blueberries?

      Or perhaps Steven Elop shipped over a crate of the odd-but-compelling Finnish cloudberry liqueur, and the bodies were drowned in that? (I'll get my tinfoil hat.)

      1. Tom 35

        Re: What kind of berries?

        Windows 8? Has to be dingleberries.

    4. Captain DaFt

      re: Sounds like some one knows were the bodies are berried and was paid to keep quiet.

      Or knows who the next body buried will be if he doesn't take the money and shut up.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No more Windows - /rant

    Have been building systems since Windows 2. The current lock-down of W7 retail licences seems almost like ransom-ware. Spent months replacing a failed motherboard/cpu with the same model and sidestepping Windows "Catch-22" situations without burning bridges.

    W7 re-authentication was expected - although it was surprising it insisted on the phone method rather than online.

    Then Direct3D was "not available" - with no sure-fire solution. Bought another new hard disk so that an Acronis clone could be made of the newly authenticated system - which could then be used to determine the correct fix. Boot up the clone and login - blank screen saying "this is not a legal copy of Windows". That has never happened before with a safety clone on the same hardware. "Ding" - one of the recent Windows updates was supposed to be something to do with preventing piracy. Not even a chance to argue the toss with a helpline.

    The user's files are apparently not accessible with any of the W7 disks as an external unit to an existing XP PC. Even a stand-alone file recovery utility won't recover their files.

    I've had enough. The user is going to get a new install - and will probably lose all their legal music and data. If their retail MS Office won't reinstall then they are going to get LibreOffice. Once my small stock of new W7 licences is used up then its Linux for everyone.

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: No more Windows - /rant

      Re the users files - boot your XP machine from a Live Linux device of some kind (USB, CD, whatever) and I'll put a shiny 5p piece on that getting the files.

      XP cant' take ownership of the Win7 files, I'm pretty certain the NTFS3G layer won't give a toss and will just grab 'em and let you put them on an external HDD.

      It'll take ten minutes to try and might well save you a major headache when it comes to contacting the user about their files.

      If not, you're back to square one, but hey, worth a shot, eh?


      Steven R

    2. Irongut Silver badge

      Re: No more Windows - /rant

      Sounds like you should have joined Sinovsky in retirement. It took you months to replace a failed motherboard & cpu? The rest of your post sounds like crap as well. I've never had any problems with Win7 activation, and if I can recover files from a hard drive that has been formatted you should be able to recover them from one that hasn't.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No more Windows - /rant

      What are you talking about? All catch 22 situations come with a built in burning bridge! Direct3D not available - with no sure-fire solution? Try a "sure-fire-free" solution. Copied windows to another disk and it told me "not a legitimate copy!" What's not legitimate about copying windows to another machine?

      I've had enough. I can't be bothered to string a sentence together properly with a sure-fire solution, but it's OS10 for everyone until I become slightly intelligible....



    4. Blitterbug

      Re: will probably lose all their legal music and data...

      <sighs> This is why techies keep a screwdriver and a SATA / IDE to USB adapter widget in their toolbags, or at least a bootable Linux stick in their pocket. To lose user data following a reformat is not just clumsy, it's unforgivably incompetent.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: will probably lose all their legal music and data...

        Thanks for the helpful comments - and thanks for the hollow laughs for the "unhelpful" ones.

        Yes - I know swapping a motherboard and cpu is usually a doddle - even if it involves re-authentication.

        Yes - I know recovering user data, even from corrupted disks, is usually tedious but no show stopper. Linux Mint is my next call - or transfer gigabytes via the network by booting the W7 system disk that still functions except for Direct3D. Usually EASUS self-booting disk recovery transfers the data ok - this time it didn't seem to be able to navigate the user directories fully.

        Believe me - I too cannot believe that I have now expended a lot of time and money doing what should have been straightforward. So far I have bought six new hard drives in an attempt to avoid destroying any regression step in the process.

        Making an Acronis 11 offline clone of the user's system disk is always my first precaution against unexpected consequences - that has proved a life-saver many times. My motto is always "don't burn your bridges just to save time - or because you think nothing can possibly go wrong".

        Add to the equation: a rare replacement motherboard turned out to be faulty; a brand new hard drive died after four hours running; - plus an incompatibility between the ASUS P7P55D-LE on-board sound and the later Nvidia graphics card's audio drivers.

        The "illegal copy" blocker on the disk clone of the re-authenticated system only appeared after the latest Windows updates. If that is what Microsoft intended - then it appears upgrading a W7 system to a new disk (not another machine) is now no longer possible.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: please let me explain in great detail

          how I fucked something up.

        2. Steven Raith

          Re: will probably lose all their legal music and data...

          @AC1555 - I sympathise, as I've had (and I'm sure other real desktop engineers) similar 'an unfortunate series of events' happenings like this before!

          FWIW, I had to reactivate Windows a few times on an Asus I had to replace the HDD on recently - it was a pig. I think I finallly managed to get it sorted, but then I went on a long weekend and spent most of it drunk. Machine was gone when I got back with notes to the effect that the machine was OK.

          Not complaining.....!

    5. Anonymous Coward

      Re: No more Windows - /rant

      obvious troll is obvious.

      There is fap-all windows can do if you simply slave the drive off onto ANY other system and grab whatever it is you want. That's the most obvious of solutions, as others have/will point out there are many.

      If our data recovery people (for when standard software recovery just won't cut it) can recover data from a hard drive that had been in a fire and was SUBSTANTIALLY melted then nothing windows can do should prevent anyone of any competence from accessing any user files at all. At worst it's a ten minute setback while you play "hunt the IDE to SATA adapter" game. If that even applies to this (I suspect made up) situation.

  9. jason 7

    This is whats wrong today.

    We have people given great responsibility to deliver important products who really have nothing to lose if they screw it all up.

    When I managed a project, if it got screwed up I would be fired and leave with just my desk stuff No golden boots, no mega share options, no multi-millions to fall back on.I therefore, always delivered what was required, when it was required.

    Instead we have uber-rich Dept. heads that have nothing to lose other than a bit of embarrassment (maybe).

    So all they do is play the exec playboy lifestyle, creating their 'vision' or 'legacy'. No need to worry about what the CEO thinks as well "he's got to pay me $20 mill if he wants rid of me!"

    License to w*nk about really.

    1. Getriebe

      Re: This is whats wrong today.

      @jason 7 - two things - One, you did not negotiate correctly - why no exit early payoff?

      Two, the projects you and I manage are nowhere near getting something as complex as getting Win 8 shipped - there are very few people in the world that can do such stuff and they know their value. I have only once met somone in the same league as SteviSi, and it wasn't in computing and the difference between them and a mere mortal was striking.

      1. jason 7

        Re: This is whats wrong today.

        Well really all I'm saying is you tend to get different results from someone who HAS to deliver to reap the benefits than someone who gets the benefits win or lose.

        Human nature.

        SteviSi and Dan Mattrick are two prime MS based examples.

        Both may be 'amazing talented guys' but both managed to deliver the wrong product and were shown the door accordingly.

        However, they were laughing hard with a spring in their step as they went through it.

      2. hplasm

        Re: the difference between them and a mere mortal

        Did they let you kiss their awesome behind?

  10. Frankee Llonnygog

    There are other choices these days

    Anything which makes you question your use of Windows is a potential win for the other choices. This makes life very difficult for Microsoft. Staying the same lets them cling on to a declining user base, while change risks driving the users away.

    A new winning vision doesn't seem likely given what we know about the culture of the business

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eadon hols?

    I can only imagine Eadon is on holiday, or is still constructing a massively long, crowing comment?

    1. Anonymous Coward 15

      Re: Eadon hols?

      He got banned.

    2. Getriebe

      Re: Eadon hols?

      Eadon has been fucked off as his comments were heading towards libelous (my guess)

      1. hplasm

        Re: Eadon hols?

        Eadon is Sinofsky - he had to go as the terms of his golden parachute kicked in.

    3. Jonathan 29

      Re: Eadon hols?

      I kind of want to know what the final straw comment was.

      1. John Sanders

        Re: Eadon hols?

        I'm curious too, I never read anything really bad from him as to deserve a permanent ban.

        1. Arctic fox

          Re:"I never read anything really bad from him as to deserve a permanent ban."

          You didn't? Well, well.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I never read anything really bad from him as to deserve a permanent ban."

            Neither did I.

            One thing I will say for him, though his opinions may have been controversial, ill-informed and often wrong, was that he was frank and forthright - he told it like he saw it, warped though his vision might have been.

            He was never snarky, pompous or clever-clever. Some other posters have never been anything but.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: He was never snarky, pompous or clever-clever.

              He was full of pompous and clever-clever, thought he knew more about windows than all the commentards on here despite clearly not using it, but I imaging snarky was a bit too tricky for him....

              1. jason 7

                Re: He was never snarky, pompous or clever-clever.

                I still wish we could have got a glimpse of where he worked.

                I'm sure we'd have all had our minds blown at the computing nirvana he would have created.


                1. eulampios
                  Thumb Down

                  Re: He was never snarky, pompous or clever-clever.

                  shame on ElReg!They did delete all of his comments! Mo..f*ckers!

                  1. Mr Spock

                    Re: He was never snarky, pompous or clever-clever.

                    shame on ElReg!They did delete all of his comments! Mo..f*ckers!

                    ALL of them? That's really sad.

                    I hope they had to do it manually. Comment by comment.

                    ANd I hope the server crashes pre-backup, so they have to do it all again!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Re: Eadon hols?

          Re Eadon: It was another of those "you're a shill, you've been bribed" type rants at an Author here. I suspect it was merely a "that'll do" situation. Totting up if you will.

          Good riddance, it promotes actual debate in the comments here rather than mass de-railment and huge off topic foamy-mouthed rants. IF you miss him, try his blog. I assume he got a 12 year old to make it for him. It's only missing a mouse-pointer trail and backing music TBH and it's the perfect website.

        3. kain preacher

          Re: Eadon hols?

          He took one to many shots at calling el reg writers MS shills.

      2. Captain DaFt

        Re: Eadon hols?

        No big mystery there. It wasn't so much the content of the last message (It was the same, shrill anti-MS rant as usual), as it was the sheer number of rants. Literally thousands and thousands!

        (Note: I'm using literally correctly here.)

  12. Paul Shirley

    FFS stop pretending there's been a U-turn

    Correcting a basic GUI discoverability design error (the start button) and shortcutting to the desktop ARE NOT A FUCKING U-TURN. Stop playing Microsofts PR game, the U-turn lie is just another slap in the face for users.

  13. John P

    Since TIFKAM was first announced, Microsoft were selling the dream of writing apps that worked on either Windows Phone or the desktop OS, a dream that never really came about. We were supposed to be able to write apps that would just work across both platforms, but this remains a distant dream.

    Allegedly, the two teams refused to work together, resulting in the disjointed developer experience that they currently have with APIs that look quite similar but are not remotely compatible.

    Joining Windows and Windows Phone in to a single group can only be a good thing in my opinion. If they can keep new APIs cross-platform, I think it would be a real shot in the arm for TIFKAM apps.

    If they had achieved this on Windows launch, I think you'd see a much richer app ecosystem than you do now. It wouldn't have solved all of Windows 8's problems, but it certainly would've helped.

    1. Tom 35

      Why are you suprised?

      If you have a system that's ideal for developing apps for a slow, battery powered device with a 4" screen then it's going to suck trying to develop an app for a full powered desktop with a couple of large screens. Trying to pretend it's all one big happy family by cripping desktops into over sized phones is not going to make the PC developers happy.

      It's like saying that all tires have to be made to work on both a tractor or a Honda Civic.

      1. hplasm

        Re: Why are you suprised?

        Except people might like to buy a Honda Civic with tractor tyres- that would be awesome!

        Unlike DoggedOS, which is not.

    2. Jess

      apps that worked on either Windows Phone or the desktop OS

      That would have been a good idea. The problem was the braindead implementation.

      How can an organization that size not realize that an app on a 4" screen should not behave exactly the same on a 27" screen?

      Why not just allow them to be widgets on the desktop?

      (It would be nice if a Linux OS could offer android apps in a similar manner.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: apps that worked on either Windows Phone or the desktop OS

        > How can an organization that size not realize that an app on a 4" screen should not behave exactly the same on a 27" screen?

        Remember, this is the very same organisation that for years and years tried to replicate the desktop windows experience onto phones as faithfully as they could.

  14. The Man Himself

    maybe not as crazy as it seems

    That whopping great golden goodby is, well, whoppingly great, but think about it for a minute....

    He's bound up in NDA's and can't work for a rival company, to protect his last employer's interests. Effectively that means he may not be able to ply his trade again. That sort of situation is quite common, I believe, in senior management....upon leaving a suitably senior position, you may never actually be able to work again, hence the high-value kiss-off payment.

    Although, as I said, the sum quoted here does seem on the high side

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Non disclosure?

    Based on what he did for Microsoft who would want to employ him? Nokia or Blackberry aside, of course

    1. Mr Spock

      Re: Non disclosure?

      Based on what he did for Microsoft who would want to employ him? Nokia or Blackberry aside, of course

      Sinofsky or Eadon?

  16. ColonelClaw

    My not-very-interesting story about Steven Sinofsky...

    During Win7 development I emailed Microsoft with some feedback in the Aero interface and Steven emailed me back a personal reply going through the issues I raised. I have to say that was rather nice of him, and showed a personal touch that's hard to come by these days.

    Shame the Win8 interface turned out so awful.

  17. Roland6 Silver badge

    A sign of things to come?

    "Curiously, Microsoft has also agreed to cover Sinofsky against legal claims stemming from his time working at Microsoft while insisting he must assist his former employer in litigation brought by or against Microsoft."

    Given the level of litigation we have been seeing in recent years, particularly around the smartphone, this clause doesn't surprise me, and would not be surprised to see it appearing in 'normal' employment contracts. Whether the clause is enforceable or not is another matter.

    Certainly my employment contract with a manufacturer of safety critical systems I worked for back in the 80's, had a clause that permitted them to call upon my assistance for up to 10 years after leaving them, if there was a major incident (ie. members of the public had died) implicating the systems I had help develop...

  18. itzman

    I had a strange experience..

    After really 30 years in IT I looked at this article, and suddenly thought 'Do you know, I no longer care what Microsoft does'

    And that thought and the realization I had it, after years of gearing business plans and strategy to 'what Microsoft was doing' ..was Damascene.

    Intellectually one can argue that Microsoft never had complete dominance of the Internet, the server market, the mobile space or whatever, but its the realisation that they no longer have dominance anywhere beyond a shrinking workstation market, and even there, there is an adequacy of alternatives ...but when emotions fail to register as well, something has changed.

    1. BobChip

      Re: I had a strange experience..(2)

      I'm pretty much on the same page. I have also been asking myself to what extent Microsoft are still even remotely relevant. We abandoned Windows as an OS three / four years ago (for Linux), and after a short period of adapting to a new OS, I would now be laughed out of court if I ever proposed going back to MS.

      It has to be said that we always look at the latest MS offering as a matter of course but, that said, Vista and Win 8 have only served to confirm that we made the right decision when we switched. I can see no point in ranting against MS - it's a waste of breath when I have a business to run and product (from a DESKTOP) to deliver.

      I'll probably look at Win 9, or Win 11.7 Poledancer or whatever when it finally comes out, but more out of morbid curiosity than as a competitive OS.

  19. William Boyle

    Re: No more Windows - /rant

    Myself, I don't want more Windows, just doors! Windows you can only look out of. Doors, you can walk out of! It is time we taught MS that they aren't the only item on the menu...

    1. Mr Spock

      Re: No more Windows - /rant

      WIndows could well end up like Doors...

      If I was Ballmer, I'd avoid going to Paris and taking baths.

  20. Colin Ritchie

    Sell, sell, sell!

    $14 million worth of M$ shares could very easily become $10 million or even $7 million by 2016. If I was the man with the golden ejector seat I'd be converting them to greenbacks pronto.

    Having said that, it sounds like the best defenestration you could hope to get, provided you don't end up spending the rest of your life sitting in a courtroom on the wrong side of monkey boy, defending the indefensible....

  21. Dave Stevens

    Which competition?

    $14M for not joining who exactly?

    Wouldn't MS just love to have him at Apple?

  22. mark 63 Silver badge

    "executive in residence"

    nice work if you can get it!

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Is it me?

    Or has the whole world gone mad.

    Its like they hit escape velocity on the pay scale and no mater what they do after a certain point it keeps going up.

    We should have separate planet for high achievers, let everyone who really thinks they are worth it go there, because it has to be a massive success right? much better than down here with us simple people still mucking around with cause and effect.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is it me?

      "Its like they hit escape velocity on the pay scale and no mater what they do after a certain point it keeps going up."

      It appears to be a fact of modern life that beyond a certain level you can just keep moving round in a charmed, well paid, circle of organisations.

      Join an organisation on the strength of your touted reorganisation idea - gradually bring in your old lieutenants from your previous organisation. They bring in their lieutenants - gradually diffusing the imported methods down the new organisation. When your wonderful idea fails to meet expectations - get paid off and move on to another organisation by touting the same wonderful idea - with a track record that never seems less than glowing.

      Your successor comes in with a different patent idea - while the organisation is still trying to get the problems out of the previous idea at the coal-face. Rinse and repeat.

      A middle manager was well known as a pragmatic cynic. He used to tell a joke that was memorable.


      A new manager entered his new office and sat behind the desk feeling very pleased with himself. Opening the desk drawer there were three envelopes from the previous occupant marked: 'open now', 'open in 6 months', 'open in 12 months'.

      So he opened the first envelope - which said 'welcome - for the next six months you can blame all the failures on me while you put your ideas in place'.

      After 6 months he opened the second envelope - which said 'Now you tell everyone that your ideas are in place - and they must be patient for the results'.

      After 12 months he opened the third envelope - 'Take three envelopes...'


      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Indeed, it's musical chairs up there

        However, sooner or later the whole room falls down.

        We saw a partial collapse a few years back in the banking crisis - unfortunately, the ones playing with the chairs don't appear to have learnt from it, so the next collapse will be worse...

  24. lunatik96

    MS is the new GM

    I wonder how long b4 MS gets a guvmint bailout?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft form 8-K and Mr. Sinofsky ..

    "Mr. Sinofsky also agreed to a release of claims against Microsoft and its related parties .. Microsoft agreed to indemnify Mr. Sinofsky against claims arising from acts or omissions relating to his employment at Microsoft pursuant to the Company’s Articles of Incorporation" link

  26. David Gale

    Non Disclosure Agreements?

    Non Disclosure Agreements? Microsoft? LOL

    I love the idea that a Microsoft NDA is somehow worth the paper it's written on:

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One vote for Steven

    Can I stick a vote in for Steven S? I see so much timidity in corporate life I really think that having the balls to rip up the win95-through-7 design book and try and out-innovate the UI is commended. yes, it was a failure. but let's have people try, fail and try again instead of sitting around from the sidelines complaining that no-one ever tries anything new.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: One vote for Steven

      Courage isn't a commodity much in play these days. I'll give him props for trying something completely different and sticking to the plan.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: One vote for Steven

        It's true - learning depends as much* on failure as it does on success. The importance is how one deals with failure, and the bunch of risk-averse shitwits that form the major investors in big companies always want to denigrate failure. I doubt that I would like Sinofsky, but I did appreciate the fact he was attempting something different that might have worked (especially if he had listened to some reasonable criticism).

        * If not more

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Petition to remove "Show Hidden Icons" button

    Microsoft's 'Kill Start' excellent strategy is step1 to rid the Motif legacy of useless buttons everywhere. Step 2 is to 'Kill Show Hidden ICons' so we can leave Hidden Icons Hidden!

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    $14m in exchange for not joining the competition.

    "$14m in exchange for not joining the competition."

    That phrase puzzles me.

    Can I ask what the rate was for going ahead and joining the competition. $20m??

  30. Rberns

    Please can someone explain what would be broken were Win 8 to have a Start Menu accessible via an icon on the bottom left of the desktop and start screens? If it's only aesthetics then make the button display optional.

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