Microsoft Corp said the head of its flagship Windows division and the driving force behind Windows 8, Steven Sinofsky, will be leaving the company with immediate effect, shortly after the software giant launched the Surface tablet.
Sinofsky, who presented at the launch of the Windows 8 operating system in New York City last month, will be succeeded by Julie Larson-Green, who will head the Windows hardware and software division, the company said in a statement.
Tami Reller will remain chief financial officer and chief marketing officer and will assume responsibility for the business of Windows.
Both executives will report directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Microsoft said. The company gave no reason for Sinofsky's departure.
At the launch event in October, Sinofsky and his team showed off a range of devices running Windows 8 from PC makers such as Lenovo Group Ltd and Acer Inc, but devoted most of their energy to the second half of the presentation and the Surface tablet, the first computer Microsoft has made itself.
Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said the departure seemed sudden and it was odd that there was no handover period. "Many link this to the modest sales of Surface but it is hard to think it all boils down to that," she said.
While there was a lot riding on Surface, the departure may have more to do with the kind of change that Surface signified in the Microsoft business model towards hardware, Milanesi said.