When Microsoft fired… excuse me, announced that Windows and Windows Live President Steven Sinofsky is leaving the company, many Microsoft experts opined that he left because of internal politics. Sorry. I don’t buy that argument for a New York minute. If Windows 8 took off at the same rate Windows 7 did–with developers anxiously looking forward to publishing software for it–and had Sinfosky’s strategic moves worked, such as Microsoft deciding to make its own Windows 8 hardware, we’d be talking about Sinofsky as Steve Ballmer’s successor, not left wondering what the heck just happened.
Yes, I’m sure internal politics had something do with it. Sinofsky wasn’t the easiest guy to work with. You know whom else I’ve met in the technology business who wasn’t that easy to work with? Guys like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Larry Ellison. While being self-centered and cocksure of yourself causes friction, when you make successful technology and business decisions, it doesn’t kill your career.
Nice guys usually finish last at top tech companies. What counts, what always really counts in tech, is delivering the hot technology on which people spend serious money. It you blow that, and you’re not the CEO, you’re history. Just ask Scott Forstall, former head of Apple’s iOS.