The sudden departure of powerful Windows boss Steven Sinofsky this week is the first step in a plan by CEO Steve Ballmer to remodel Microsoft Corp as a much more integrated operation in an attempt to take on Apple Inc and Google Inc at their own game, Reuters reports. After nearly 13 years at the helm of the world's largest software maker, which just launched its first own-brand computer, sources inside the company say Sinofsky's departure signals Ballmer's new-found focus on co-operation between its self-sufficient - and sometimes warring - units.

"What I'm hearing over and over is collaboration and horizontal...

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    staff and wire services reports