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Gates' support of Ballmer led to Microsoft ouster of Sinofsky - report

Microsoft decided to oust Windows head Steve Sinofsky after former CEO Bill Gates reportedly expressed his support for current CEO Steve Ballmer.

Behind-the-scenes details of Microsoft's executive shakeup were reported on Tuesday by Kara Swisher of AllThingsD, citing "several high-level sources." Gates' support apparently came from an effort to encourage future collaboration between Microsoft's different teams.

"While Gates — who is now chairman of Microsoft's board — has had a longtime and very close relationship with Sinofsky, he supported the move by Ballmer to promote more integration of Microsoft's other divisions and also involve other top executives more significantly than ever before in the planning and development of the next version of Windows," Swisher wrote.


Sinofsky reportedly earned a reputation for being difficult to work with, though he was also regarded as "deeply brilliant." Ballmer was also said to have his own issues with Sinofsky, and allegedly clashed with him on numerous occasions.

Microsoft announced on Monday that Sinofsky was leaving the company immediately — a bombshell that immediately prompted speculation that the circumstances were similar to Apple's ousting of iOS chief Scott Forstall late last month. Like Sinofsky, Forstall was also labeled as someone who was not universally liked.

But while Forstall's ouster was said to be a "fairly last minute" decision, sources told Swisher that Sinofsky's departure had been in the works for the last several weeks. His exit comes after a number of major product launches from Microsoft, most notably the Windows 8 operating system and Surface tablet.