“He had no factions, except those who worked for him,” said one
source. “He picked a lot of fights.”
That included with former chief software architect Ray Ozzie —
who left Microsoft in 2010, in part after battling against
Sinofsky over how the cloud-based world was shaping up and how
Microsoft should respond.
Likewise, former Entertainment and Devices unit leaders Robbie
Bach and J Allard also found themselves on the losing end of a
corporate battle with Sinofsky, as Microsoft axed their planned
Courier tablet and agreed to give tablet responsibilities to the
Windows team. Both left the company in 2010.
Sinofsky also clashed with former Microsoft Business division head
Stephen Elop, who left the company in 2010 to run Nokia, now an
important partner in the smartphone business.
Having sided with Sinofsky in all those fights, though, Ballmer
belatedly decided that he wasn’t the right choice to bring the
company together in the future. Sources said Ballmer raised those
concerns with Gates, who agreed.
Of course he did. No way could Ballmer have done this without Gates’s (and thus, the board’s) approval. That’s a lot of heads that have rolled at Microsoft in recent years.