Sinofsky Promoted to Windows Chief

A week before Microsoft is expected to finalize Windows 7, the company promoted Steven Sinofsky, the man most directly responsible for Windows 7 development, to president of the Windows division. Previously, Sinofsky shared a title—senior vice president of Windows—with Bill Veghte, whose fate is unclear. Microsoft says only that Veghte will move into "a new leadership role" later this year.

"Steven Sinofsky has demonstrated the ability to lead large teams that deliver great products," says Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "The work he and the team have done in getting ready to ship Windows 7 really defines how to develop and ship world-class software. He is a perfect fit to lead the Windows group."

Microsoft's pleasure with Sinofsky's Windows 7 achievement is clear, but it's also an implicit approval of Sinofsky's more secretive, Apple-like, management style. Unlike with previous Windows versions, Sinofsky kept Windows 7 information away from the public until the last minute and released very few product milestones to testers, and then only very late in the product's development. The company believes that this strategy prevented it from over-promising and under-delivering, as many feel it did with Windows Vista, but it also means that testers have had far less influence than ever on the product's design.

That said, the quality and timeliness of Windows 7 is not debatable. The product has garnered overwhelmingly positive reviews, even in pre-release form, and many feel that Windows 7 could easily have shipped to the public months before its projected release date. Microsoft previously announced that it would deliver Windows 7 generally in late October after finalizing the product by the second half of July.

Previous to his work on Windows 7, Sinofsky led the Office team through several releases. He was directly responsible for the innovative "ribbon" user interface that re-energized Office with the Office 2007 release. As president of the Windows Division, Sinofsky is now responsible for several key Microsoft products, including Windows, Windows Live, and Internet Explorer

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