Microsoft plans to appoint Steve Sinofsky as the new head of its Windows development team in the wake of the shipping delay of Windows Vista that was announced yesterday, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, the WSJ reported that Sinofsky, currently senior vice president of Office at Microsoft, will oversee the development of Windows, taking over the duties that are now Jim Allchin’s, co-president of the Platform Products and Services division.
Allchin announced last year that he will retire at the end of 2006, which is when Vista—the release of which had already been delayed—was expected to ship.
But on a hastily scheduled conference call Tuesday, Allchin announced that the consumer version of Vista will now be pushed back until January 2007, which means Windows Vista PCs will not be on retail shelves in time for the popular Christmas holiday season in the United States. Still, Allchin said the development of the OS will be complete by the end of the year, and so he still plans to leave the company then.
A spokeswoman for Waggener Edstrom, Microsoft’s public relations firm, on Tuesday would not confirm the changes in leadership at Microsoft, saying the company is not reporting any organizational moves at this time.
Sinofsky joined Microsoft in 1989 as a software design engineer, and has worked his way up the ranks since then. He has been with the Office team since its formation in 1994, first serving as the director of program management for that group.
According to the WSJ, Sinofsky is being tapped to lead Windows because of his reputation as a no-nonsense leader of the Office team. Kevin Johnson, co-president of the Platform Products and Services division with Allchin, also is planning more organizational changes within the Windows division, which is known for its inability to get products out on schedule, according to the WSJ. In contrast, Microsoft Office releases come out on a predictable and steady basis.
Industry reaction to Vista’s delay was swift and decisive. The stock prices of Microsoft and its hardware partners Dell and Hewlett-Packard fell in after-hours trading Tuesday. Industry analysts generally saw the delay as embarrassing for Microsoft, but more damaging for hardware and retail partners, who were expecting to get a revenue surge from Vista PC sales during the U.S. Christmas buying season in late November and December.
-Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service
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