Sinofsky captivated by Andreessen Horowitz, becomes board partner

The former Windows chief will represent the VC firm on the boards of companies it's backing

Steven Sinofsky, who exited Microsoft abruptly weeks after his Windows 8 brainchild shipped, has found a new gig at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Sinofsky has joined as a board partner, a role in which he will represent Andreessen Horowitz on the board of the companies it invests in. The position, he wrote Thursday on his personal blog, isn't a full-time job.

Sinofsky first made contact with Andreessen Horowitz late last year and was captivated by what he viewed as the firm's commitment to "fostering innovation, product creation and working with product-focused entrepreneurs."

In his blog post, he profusely professed great admiration for the firm, its employees and leaders and for "the values clearly articulated and lived day to day by everyone at the firm."

In turn, Sinofsky hopes to contribute with his skills and extensive experience with product development at Microsoft, which culminated with his leadership of the development of the controversial Windows 8 OS.

A product of historical importance to Microsoft, Windows 8 has been a lightning rod for criticism. Formally launched in October of last year, Windows 8 has been blasted for its radically redesigned "Modern" interface, which is based on tile icons optimized for touch screens and meant to help the OS gain traction in the tablet market.

Still, Apple's iOS and Android continue to dominate the tablet OS market, with Windows 8 a minor player.

Microsoft is busy working on a major revision of the OS called Windows 8.1 that attempts to address many of the objections from consumers and enterprise customers, including the removal of the Start button and the bumpy interplay between the Modern interface and the more traditional Windows 7-like desktop, included to run legacy Windows applications.

In short, the harshest critics maintain that Microsoft tried to make an OS that works well on both desktops and tablets, and ended up with a product that works well in neither. By contrast, Apple has iOS for its iPads and iPhones, and MacOS for its desktop and laptop computers.

Sinofsky, the public face of the Windows 8 project, left Microsoft in mid-November, about three weeks after the launch of the OS, shocking many in the industry and leading to widespread speculation for the causes and motives behind his departure.

Officially, he and Microsoft said at the time that the decision to part was mutual and cordial, but analysts said there may have been tension between Sinofsky and others in the Microsoft executive team, and that the problems could have been exacerbated by the criticism leveled at Windows 8 since the first builds became publicly available.

Sinofsky also oversaw the development of the Microsoft-branded Surface tablets, which have struggled to gain traction, in particular the model that runs Windows RT, the Windows 8 version for ARM-based devices.

In December, Sinofsky disclosed that he would teach at the Harvard Business School this spring, and in Thursday's blog post he reiterated that he will continue being an Entrepreneur In Residence there as well as "pursue other business and product development opportunities that arise."

In May of this year, he publicly defended Windows 8 sales, and in July struck a "retirement agreement" with Microsoft in which he received a payout for unvested stock. In return, he agreed to some concessions that, among other things, prevent him from working for certain Microsoft competitors and from speaking badly about Microsoft products.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Windows 8MicrosoftWindowssoftwareoperating systems

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?