Ex-Windows Boss Gets Big Payout from Microsoft

Dennis Faas's picture

The Windows chief Microsoft fired just a month after the launch of Windows 8 is getting a big stock payout from the Redmond, Washington-based firm. The only condition: he can't say bad things about his former company.

Steven Sinofsky was President of Microsoft's Windows division from 2009 until late last year. Prior to that time he had contributed to the development of several other Microsoft products, including the Office software suite.

Sinofsky was also partly responsible for Microsoft's Surface tablet computer, the SkyDrive cloud storage service, and Outlook.com. He originally joined the firm in 1989.

Sinofsky Not a 'Team Player'

Despite his long tenure at Microsoft, Sinofsky was let go shortly after Windows 8's disappointing launch. At the time, there were rumors Sinofsky was not a 'team player.' (Sinofsky was eventually replaced by Julie Larson-Green and Tami Reller.)

That said, it's now unlikely the public will ever really know why Sinofsky left the firm.

According to reports, his recently completed "retirement agreement" includes a clause which states that Sinofsky must never compete with Microsoft by accepting a job at key rivals or encourage customers to use non-Microsoft products. (Source: pcworld.com)

Sinofsky is also barred from 'headhunting' Microsoft employees for rival companies and cannot "disparage" his former employer in any way.

Awarded $14.2 Million Stock Payout

In exchange, Sinofsky will receive the value of his outstanding Microsoft stock. The estimated value of that stock (totaling more than 418,000 shares): $14.2 million.

In a statement, Microsoft said it was pleased with the agreement:

"Given Steven's 23 years of strong service at Microsoft, which included leading teams that produced six versions of Office and two versions of Windows, the company will continue to provide him with the economic value of the stock awards he earned during his employment, similar to the retirement benefits we provide employees who work at least 15 years and retire at 55 or older."

The agreement also includes a clause requiring Sinofsky to assist "with intellectual property litigation until January 1, 2017." (Source: sec.gov)

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