Steven Sinofsky, Ribbons and Tiles

News of Steven Sinofsky, president of Windows, leaving Microsoft is swiping across the Internet. It comes on the heels of the Windows 8 launch. Sinofsky barely had time to celebrate the momentous launch of the operating system, designed to power the “new era of PCs,” before getting the boot. Or maybe he left on his own.

The details of his leaving are irrelevant unless you’re inside Microsoft wondering, “What’s next?”

When I worked at Microsoft, my job was scarcely impacted by Office, Windows, Outlook, and the other mammoth applications Sinofsky oversaw. As a consumer, I was a fan.

When Windows 7 and Office 2007 launched, I traded in my clunky home-built desktop system for a stylish Sony Vaio laptop. I loved the PC, hated the software… for the first week. And then I started to delight in how easy it was to use the Office ribbon to create, edit, and embellish documents. Within a short time, I couldn’t remember the old Office interface.

Note: If you want improve your use of the ribbon, download Ribbon Hero 2. It’s fun, fabulous, and you won’t realize it’s a ploy to get you improve your Office skills.

I still wonder how Microsoft created an application that was so radically different from the previous version, yet made it extraordinary easy to learn.

And don’t get me started on Office OneNote. While SharePoint is still a nightmare, Office OneNote is like a bowl of macaroni and cheese – wonderfully satisfying, easy to digest, and fulfilling for organizing, capturing notes, and parking “stuff” you may want to reference later.

From the ribbon came tiles.

Last year, I traded in my trusty, featureless flip phone for a Windows Phone. I was super hesitant because a smart phone seemed beyond my limited interest in technology (hey, I have no issues admitting I wait until something is available at Kmart before I adopt). Plus, I didn’t want to be one of those people who were constantly checking this-or-that on their phone.

Yeah, I hated my Windows Phone. Typing on a screen, figuring out how to log-in, finding applications, and all of those goofy tiles.

And then a week passed and I became one of those people who couldn’t put my phone down. And after seeing an Android phone, I knew I’d made the right decision.

Everything they say about Steve Sinofsky not being a team player, and wanting to grow his empire are probably true. But, he created great, ground-breaking applications, which are truly enjoyable to use. Having the vision and the personality to push through the muck to create what has yet to be envisioned should be lauded.

Good luck Steve in your next endeavor. I can’t wait to see what you create next!


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