Mini-Microsoft tips Steven Sinofsky as next Microsoft CEO

By Tom Warren, on 22nd Sep 11 11:41 am with 45 Comments

Steven Sinofsky at BUILD 2011

Mini-Microsoft, an anonymous Microsoft employee, has tipped Steven Sinofsky as the next Microsoft CEO.

Whodapunk“, the author of Mini-Microsoft, is a secret Microsoft employee who regularly blogs about internal changes at the software giant. The latest blog post focuses on Microsoft’s 2011 company meeting, due to take place on Friday. Reflecting on the year, whodapunk highlights Apple’s “soaring” success with its range of iOS devices. He admits that Apple is “blowing Microsoft away and cannibalizing our Windows powered device market.” Microsoft’s stock is “horribly flat” acceding to whodapunk and he highlights the calls for Ballmer to be replaced that have taken place over the year.

Despite the fears, “Microsoft has emerged with the talking points that the company is being re-imagined” says whodapunk after describing the positives with Windows Phone Mango and Windows 8 both on the horizon. “All I can say is that SteveB (Steve Balmer) should give SteveSi (Steven Sinofsky) the CEO Bacon Achievement award,” he says after Sinofsky completed excellent work on Windows 7 and 8. “SteveB had to be so happy to have Windows 8 revealed at BUILD right before the Financial Analysts Meeting,” he adds.

Whodapunk also highlights the reaction to Windows 8 in the blogosphere. Joe Wilcox described Steven Sinofsky as the “new Steve Jobs” in a blog post last week. “Some bloggers dared to pass the Steve Jobs torch to SteveSi. Wow. Didn’t see that coming,” says whodapunk. He then goes on to tip that Sinofsky is CEO material but that he wouldn’t necessarily work in a Steven Sinofsky CEO Microsoft world:

“(psst. Board. CEO ma-ter-ial. Uh-huh. There you go. Not that I’d probably work in a SteveSi CEO Microsoft, but ya could do a lot worse!)”

The suggestion that Sinofsky could succeed Ballmer has intensified amongst Microsoft watchers and employees since BUILD. Privately, a number of Microsoft employees I spoke to off-record at BUILD last week admitted that Sinofsky is a likely choice if Windows 8 succeeds. Some mirrored Mini-Microsoft’s concerns at a Sinofsky-led Microsoft but others spoke with admiration and respect for what he has achieved for Windows and Office. Microsoft lacks a visionary leader and Sinofsky appears to fill that role very well. Co-founder Bill Gates handed over the CEO position to Steve Ballmer in January 2000 and transitioned from full-time work at Microsoft to focus on his philanthropy in June, 2008. Gates’ departure came after his vision and belief that tablet computing would be mainstream by 2012 (see video). Gates was right but Ballmer has often misjudged competitor products, he laughed at the introduction of the iPhone and branded it “the most expensive phone in the world” (see video). The iPhone went on to redefine smartphones and triggered a battle for a space that Microsoft had invested heavily in with the now defunct Windows Mobile operating system.

Steven Sinofsky’s appearance at the 2011 Microsoft Financial Analyst Meeting at BUILD last week was also significant. Over the past few years the meeting typically included senior Microsoft executives from Microsoft’s business focussed areas. Sinofsky’s inclusion signals his importance across Microsoft and not just Windows. Former Microsoft executives Stephen Elop, Robbie Bach, Bob Muglia and Ray Ozzie have all taken part in recent analyst meetings.

Sinofsky also shares the same secrecy traits as Apple CEO Steve Jobs. He famously penned a memo to staff in 2007 entitled “transparency and disclosure“. In it he explained the careful balance of under promising and over delivering, a policy that played out well for the Windows 7 development. The secret nature of Windows 7 and Windows 8 development has lead to a new wow factor around Windows where Sinofsky has been able to control the message and slowly get consumers excited about Windows again. Don’t be surprised if Sinofsky is named Microsoft CEO following a roaring success with Windows 8. The company’s bets lay firmly on his head and it seems inevitable that he will succeed Ballmer over the next couple of years.

Image Credit: Microsoft Corporation

  • lol

    Sounds like utter BS. Apple has secret teams seperate from the main corporation that goes out and dirty talks competitor products and talks up the impact of of their products in the marketplace, and suppresses any bad publicity Apple may receive.

    • Guest

      Yeah. Only they’re called mainstream media. ;-)

  • Ahmed Salem

    too much steve (steven) in this blog!! I wonder if this is a condition to be qualified as a CEO ??

    • Michiel Papp


  • Antonio Raga

    Sinosfky as Microsoft CEO would be great.

    • Anonymous

      Anyone but Ballmer right now would be great!!!

  • Chris W

    Sinofsky had the believe and passion to carry the Keynote at Build. Better that Jobs does at the apple keynotes. The question is should we pull him out of product development ?

    • Joshua Greene

      That’s exactly what I was thinking.  Perhaps even if he were to be offered the CEO bid in the future, he would (depending on if it actually did happen and he accepts) hopefully stay involved in a directional sense with development, at the very least.

    • Sebastian Gorgon

      looking at Windows 8?… yes

    • Guest

      You mean the DP that’s far from final, particularly wrt to UI?

    • Anonymous

      haha wow… you really talk so much crap… are you developer? if you aren’t dont talk SHITS like that.

      its not like its in beta, its a developer preview. if you dont know the bright idea behind it, then go back to your atari, because Xbox and ps3 aren’t gaming consoles… and go back to MS-DOS because you wont see any changes anyway.

      or better go to google chrome or osx. and stop pretending you know what Windows 8 is…

  • Tim Acheson

    “Mini-Microsoft” is an Apple mole within Microsoft. This looks like competitive-intelligence — industrial espionage; dirty-tricks.

    The slogan of “whodapunk” implicitly states that MS is too big, inefficient, doesn’t please customers, and generating inadequate profits:

    “Let’s slim down Microsoft into a lean, mean, efficient customer pleasing profit making machine!”

    • Guest

      “Let’s slim down Microsoft into a lean, mean, efficient customer pleasing profit making machine!”

      Yeah, what a terrible goal that is. Oh right, nevermind.

    • Tim Acheson

      I agree, it’s a goal nobody could argue with, like all the best propaganda, but let’s not be naive about people using statements like this to bash commercial rivals.

      “Let’s slim down Google into a lean, mean, efficient customer pleasing profit making machine!”
      Would you agree that this is a good goal? Me too.

      “Let’s slim down Apple into a lean, mean, efficient customer pleasing profit making machine!”

      Would you agree that this is a good goal? Me too.

  • Pedro Roque

    Does anyone cares about mini-ms opinions?

    • Anonymous

      It seems a lot of people do, surprisingly, but I’m not one of them. I never read Mini for his opinion and do not like any of his blog posts. The only reason I read Mini is because of the thousands of comments that get posted there. 90% of them are disgruntled employees (which i ignore) but it’s that remaining 10% that has insightful info and makes me come back.

    • Pedro Roque

      I envy your patience, going through that comments…

    • Guest

      I do. Although he doesn’t provide the same level of insight that he used to. And the comments, which used to be even more valuable, have now devolved into rants from a few negative employees and a whole bunch of ex employees and trolls pretending to be employed there. Last night I gave up after reading the first six comments, several of which I recognized as the same idiots who have posted the same negativity before.

  • Hassan Ali

    Yes I want Steven Snifsoky as CEO> Period

    • Anonymous

      No, I don’t. Steven is good, but compare to SteveB, he is still in learning phase.

    • oolong2

      I don’t… 

      From the consumer side Windows 8 has been FANTASTIC…
      From the developer side of things the change in Microsoft’s culture has been HORRIBLE… 

      The whole reveal from the developer perspective was managed horribly…   Most people that went to BULD were enterprise developers and architects.  However the format BUILD (Which used to be PDC) was completely changed to focus on a sandboxed HTML5 development.   Most developers left completely scratching their heads on what Microsoft’s direction was and how consumer and enterprise LOB applications fit into it.  

      Windows Phone developers  were also left high and dry because of no support for Silverlight & XNA…  Android and iOS have the same development platform no matter if you’re doing phone or tablet.  However instead of giving developers an obvious transition to Windows 8 Microsoft decides to over complicate things and create new development environments just for the tablet.

      That confusion continues because of the sudden insistance on Microsoft being closed…  And being closed in areas where it really doesn’t make sense.  Developers don’t care about what individual features you’re adding to the Windows 8 user intereface they care about the flexability of the APIs underneath

      When Balmer was on the stage screaming “developers! developers! developers!”  He wasn’t kidding…  Since then Microsoft went from a closed company to a completely open one and the community grew like CRAZY…  Now for the first time in a very long time I hear Microsoft developers considering Java & Flash.

      They are closing the doors again on a community that has been a large part of what has kept Microsoft strong over the years. Why? To be like Apple?  Being like Apple hasn’t been what has kept Microsoft succussful.  It has been offering all the features that Apple offers, but with the flexability that people want, along with a seemless development experience for businesses and partners.

      Keep in mind from the usability standpoint Windows 7 is great.  However how many non Microsoft applications actually take advantage of Windows 7 specific features?

      I’m afraid that Microsoft will come out with a great OS that is undersupported and by forcing all Metro apps to go through the app store they are completely missing out on the fundementals that has made Windows popular all the years…

      The day that people start asking about “Jail Breaking” Windows is the day that Microsoft has completely lost their way.

    • Robin Ashe

      I’m quite worried that there will be jailbreaking necessary on Windows 8, and requiring all Metro apps to go through the store could be what turns Windows 8 from a massive success like Windows 7 to one of the most hated OSes like Windows Vista.

  • Lewis McCrary

    Where did you get that preposterous hypothesis?
    Did Steve tell you that, perchance?
    Hmm, Steve…

    • Test1ngi23

      Flight of the Conchords. LOL

    • Jacob Geiser

      My rhymes are so potent that in this small segmentI made all of the ladies in the area pregnantYes, sometimes my lyrics are sexistBut you lovely bitches and hoes should know I’m trying to correct this.

    • Chris Ferreira

      I’m the hip-hop-opotamus, my rhymes are bottomless……………………………………………………………..

    • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    MinWin= Sinofsky ;p

  • veldar

    much better than the crazyman “:D

  • Anonymous

    I want to post before finish reading.

    Stupidity #1: Apple soaring success. He has no idea. Kill me if this “success” last more than 1 year from now.
    Stupidity #2: Sinosfky replacing Ballmer. He has no idea. Steven (Sinosfky) is great at his role, but there is a lot more as a CEO, not to mention Microsoft CEO. He is no comparison to Steve (Baller). My opinion Stephen (Elop) would be better candidate than Steven (Sinosfky). 

    A great soldier may not a a great general, a great general may be a bad soldier. Don’t get yourself confused.   Let me rate those three in scale of 10.

                                         as president              as CEO
    Steven (Sinosfky)           10                               8
    Stephen (Elop)                9                                9
    Steve (Ballmer)               6                                10

    If you don’t believe me you can ask Mary Jo Floley, or Ed Bott. 

    • Anonymous

      “Stupidity #1: Apple soaring success. He has no idea. Kill me if this “success” last more than 1 year from now.”

      How many people have predicted the end of Apples’ growth in the last 10 years? Yet, what’s the reality? Are you really willing to bet your life against Apple’s “success”?

      “Stupidity #2: Sinosfky replacing Ballmer. He has no idea. Steven (Sinosfky) is great at his role, but there is a lot more as a CEO, not to mention Microsoft CEO. He is no comparison to Steve (Baller). My opinion Stephen (Elop) would be better candidate than Steven (Sinosfky).”

      You say there’s a lot more “as” a CEO. Can you tell us specifically what a CEO does that isn’t delegated to other executives and employees? I bet Sinosfky works longer hours than Ballmer.

      Gates was a hard worker. Not sure I can put Ballmer in the same light.

    • Anonymous

      I see no risk to bet my life, yes, I am very well willing to bet my life.
      I don’t want to be analytical, I could, but if you suggested that Gates is better CEO than Baller, you are so wrong.

      I tell you this, if something requires more than a few turns to get to the truth, then most people get it wrong. Only a few people get it right.

  • SDreamer

    Sinofsky has great ideas and most likely leadership, but in terms of charisma neither he nor Ballmer can compare to Jobs, which I think is what is most important when selling these things. If Sinofsky can be CEO and remain a heavy influence in devlopment ten I think that’s alot better than what they have now.

    • MVIM

      I’ve watched Jobs on stage before. He hasn’t had charisma in years. In fact, his presentation in front of WWDC this year was arguably boring.

      People are told to follow him as if he is a deity and they do it. That’s really all there is to it.

    • Guest

      the Jobs ‘charisma’ thing is so much hype. 
      Take the rose coloured glasses off and he is absolutely nothing special
      at all.

    • Guest

      I agree with that. They would need to pair him with someone senior who is charismatic and marketing savvy. Otherwise it would be like watching that Dyson vacuum guy.

  • Anonymous

    Too many Steves! Give Doug a chance!

    • 4nr

      Who is Doug?

  • Guest

    Could he do any worse? In just over a decade Steve has:

    - turned MS from feared and dominant into laughing stock and laggard
    - cut the stock price in half
    - lost the revenue, profit and market cap lead to Apple
    - let Apple and Google become the leaders in smartphones and tablets, two areas MS was early to.
    - let Google dominate search and become a growing threat to MS in the enterprise
    - invested nearly 10x the R&D of Apple, but failed to profitably conquer even one new major market, while Apple has done so three times.

  • Guest

    MS definitely needs a new CEO. And that CEO ideally should be much more technical than Ballmer. They also have to have business aptitude. I think Sinofsky scores well enough on both of those. But is he strategic? Can he correctly anticipate new opportunities and threats and position the company to take advantage or avoid them accordingly? Looking at W8, I’m not so sure. And this is something that Ballmer has absolutely sucked at, while Jobs is a master.

  • Anonymous

    I like Sinofsky, but I like Ballmer as CEO. no matter what people say. he is making Microsoft still a good company with all these years.
    I liked Ballmer and sinosky presence in BUILD. of course they were different, but ballmer gives a different feel when he talks.
    and its not like sinofsky has taken all decisions and such. its not like Ballmer hasn’t had anything to do with all the Microsoft products…

    anyway, this “mini, microsoft” since its anonymous you cant trust if its even a microsofty employee or some idiot that will want to say whatever crap they want and be on news.
    i don’t like people who hide behind anonymous names and cant say what they think.

    and I honestly think he talks alot of crap, like where he works? windows team, server team, office team, windows phone team. because he talked about windows phone like if he worked there and knew about it, and “late to party bla bla” crap

    but seriously, only because Sinofsky is doing good his job it doesn’t mean it like he deserves being a CEO now.

    but now i think…who should i believe? Bill Gates who trusted Steve Ballmer years ago, and gave him CEO.
    or some idiot who cant even say his name and i cant trust if he even works at microsoft that says Steve Ballmer should give Sinofsky CEO?

    so really, why should i believe some idiot with no real name and no Bill Gates who is supporting Steve Ballmer?

    • Guest

      Wow. Let’s start with the first bit. If mini wasn’t anonymous he would have been fired and there would be no blog. Second, look at mini’s concerns going back years, then look at Ballmer’s equivalent statements of confidence. Who turned out to be right more often? Gates put Steve in charge because he thought Steve would make the least changes. And unfortunately that’s what happened. Steve mostly carried on all the things Bill started, whether they made sense or not. And now MS is growing at less than 10% and has been surpassed by Apple on every important metric, from cash to market value.

      Whether someone choses to use their name or not has nothing to with the quality or accuracy of their insight. At best it might cause you to question their motivaton, but that’s about it. Anyway, mini has been confirmed to be a MS employee by media who he has met with (they promised to keep his/her name confidential), and whether you agree with him/her or like their chosen approach, I don’t think there’s any doubt that their intention is to see a better more successful MS.

  • Anonymous

    ” he laughed at the introduction of the iPhone and branded it “the most expensive phone in the world”

    Ballmer didn’t misjudge it at the time, he was correct and it didn’t sell well.   When he made that statement the iPhone was $500-$600 on contract and still included Apple’s $400 termination fee in addition to the carrier’s.  The iPhone only sold like 120k until they lowered the price to $199.

  • jason joseph aquino

    No more Developers? Developers? Developers? Developers? Developers?

  • Economizer

    I love my Mac…