Ex Windows chief Sinofsky banned from helping rivals

After receiving a $10 million golden geddouttahere, ousted ex-Microsoft Windows chief Steve Sinofsky has been banned from working for rivals as part of the payoff, it has been revealed.

The Guardian noticed in an SEC filing that Sinofsky, who left the company last November, is contractually unable to join top Microsoft rivals including Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Oracle, EMC or VMWare before 2014. He is also banned from entering talks with IBM, Dell, Intel and Nokia with the purpose of disrupting their relationships with Microsoft.

Sinofsky, once considered a natural candidate for next Microsoft CEO, was pushed out of the company by Ballmer late last year in what was seen as Ballmer consolidating his power over the company. Steve Sinofsky spent 23 years at Microsoft and was responsible for the flagship Windows 7 and, most recently Windows 8. But there were murmurings when he left that Sinofsky was a little too aggressive, and a fan of making executive decisions without consulting the other voles.

At the time of Sinofsky’s departure, there were rumours he was trying to bring further Microsoft divisions under his control, although this was denied. Ballmer split the executive control of Windows into two positions. After the poor Windows 8 launch, squeezing Sinofsky out of Redmond wasn’t too difficult a task for Ballmer, although it surprised pundits.

It is perhaps unsurprising that volish lawyers penned such a restrictive list considering the nature of Sinofsky leaving. He was forced to agree not to approach a long list of companies about reconsidering their custom with Microsoft – including Asus, Acer, Dell, HP, HTC, IBM, Intel, Lenovo, LG, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba.

Of course, given Microsoft’s dismal attempts to turn itself into a hardware company – and the disastrous Surface tablet – many partners may not need much of a push to begin with.

As long as Sinofsky doesn’t join the board of Microsoft’s biggest  rivals before 2014, or squawk to the competition about how lousy Redmond is, he is due over $10 million to cover for 418,000 share options.