“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.