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Originally published July 9, 2009 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 9, 2009 at 12:41 PM

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Microsoft names Sinofsky to head Windows

Microsoft appointed Steven Sinofsky head of the Windows division on Wednesday, ending the triumvirate that ran the company's core business.

Seattle Times technology reporter

Tami Reller

New position: Named to head marketing in Windows division, reporting to Sinofsky.

Other responsibilities: Chief financial officer of Windows division, a position she continues to hold.

Background: Came to Microsoft with the acquisition of Great Plains Software in 2001; helped lead introduction of Dynamics business software to the market.

Bill Veghte

What's new: Taking unspecified leadership role to be announced later this year.

Former position: Had been senior vice president for the Windows business, with responsibility for marketing.

Background: Joined Microsoft in 1990; has held a variety of executive positions, including managing development and marketing of server products.

Steven Sinofsky

New position: Promoted to president of the Windows division, with responsibility for engineering and business of Microsoft's chief product.

Former position: Senior vice president of Windows and Windows Live engineering group.

Background: Came to Microsoft in 1989; headed product development of Microsoft Office.

Jon DeVaan

Continuity: Maintains position as senior vice president in Windows division, with responsibility for engineering; reports to Sinofsky.

Background: The 22-year Microsoft veteran has held a variety of executive positions at the company, including in the TV division and working on desktop applications and Office development.

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Microsoft appointed Steven Sinofsky head of its Windows division Wednesday, scrapping the triumvirate that ran the software company's core business.

Sinofsky, 43, a 20-year Microsoft veteran, had been senior vice president of the group with two other senior vice presidents, Bill Veghte and Jon DeVaan.

As president of Windows, Sinofsky will be in charge of engineering and marketing for Windows, Windows Live and Internet Explorer.

"With this transition, we want to ensure we are setting up for the next release and continue the market leadership and momentum that we have with Windows today," CEO Steve Ballmer said in a memo to all employees.

In a separate company statement, Ballmer said, "Steven Sinofsky has demonstrated the ability to lead large teams that deliver great products. The work he and the team have done in getting ready to ship Windows 7 really defines how to develop and ship world-class software."

DeVaan, whom Sinofsky worked for in the 1990s, will now report to him and run the core engineering team.

Windows Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller will also take on marketing responsibilities for Windows 7. Veghte, who was in charge of Windows marketing, is moving to an unspecified leadership role at the company to be announced later.

The changes come as the team puts the finishing touches on Windows 7, expected to launch on Oct. 22.

Unlike its predecessor, Windows Vista, which was plagued by delays and incompatibility problems at its launch, Windows 7 has been praised for its smooth development and has received a positive reception from the industry and reviewers.

Sinofsky, who worked on developing Microsoft's Office 2007 software, was brought over to the Windows group to do the same.

Known as a manager who can meet product deadlines, he has gained the reputation of being exacting about how his operation runs.

He is now part of a handful of division presidents who report directly to Ballmer, a group that also includes Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie, Online Services division President Qi Lu, Microsoft Business division President Steven Elop, Entertainment and Devices division President Robbie Bach and Servers and Tools President Bob Muglia.

Born in New York, Sinofsky spent his high-school years in Florida and attended Cornell University.

While studying for his master's degree in computer science at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, he sent his résumé to Microsoft using the address he found on the side of a box of Microsoft Word.

He first worked in the applications group in developer tools, then became Bill Gates' technical assistant.

In that job, he kept Gates apprised of the latest developments in the tech world.

In one of his books, Gates credits Sinofsky and J Allard now the chief experience officer in the Entertainment and Devices division, as "instigators" who set off alarm bells about the Internet in 1994.

While Sinofsky, Veghte and DeVaan have all held the same titles in the Windows division, many observers credit Sinofsky with landing Windows 7 on time.

"I think he's kind of been heading the whole Windows 7 effort," said Sid Parakh, analyst at McAdams Wright Ragen. "It seems to me Windows 7 has come along really well, probably better than what people have thought, and that's what led to this promotion."

Information from Seattle Times archive is included in this report. Sharon Pian Chan: 206-464-2958 or schan@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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