Microsoft called a news conference late in the day Monday where many people expected to hear news of an Xbox tablet release.  Instead, they were shocked to hear of the departure of Steven Sinofsky just weeks after the release of Windows 8.

Windows chief Steven Sinofsky pushed out of Microsoft

 New Leadership

The controversial leader was known for his secrecy surrounding Microsoft products and plans.  He is being replaced by Julie Larson-Green, the corporate VP of program management for Windows.  She will be leading all engineering of software and hardware for Windows.  Tami Reller will remain CFO and CMO as well as taking on business and marketing strategy.

Sinofsky was part of Microsoft for 23 years and is credited with the revamping of the company image after the disaster of Vista.  He had a reputation of being a demanding leader with strict expectations of product delivery on time.  He was known as a difficult person to work with and was seen as a polarizing figure.

In contrast to Sinofsky’s reputation, Larson-Green is seen as a collaborative leader who can drive teams to perform at their best.

Regardless of your opinion of Sinofsky or if you even had one, it was obvious that he knew how to deliver quality products.  He was responsible for many of Microsoft’s ideas, including the new Windows 8.  Many wonder how the departure will affect Microsoft just when they are becoming a competitor again.  Will the changes leave the company floundering or will the new leadership bring about even more innovative, game changing ideas?

Windows Blue

The first opportunity to see what will happen to Microsoft after Sinofsky may be the next update to Windows 8, mysteriously called Windows Blue.  There are very few details available yet, but suspicions abound that it may be a big departure from traditional Microsoft.  One thing is clear, Microsoft is going to have to figure out where to go next without their long-term leader.  That could be a good or bad thing, and everyone will be waiting to see if Microsoft can compete with Apple or if this has served as a stumbling block.

[Image via geek]