Hugh Pickens writes writes "The Guardian reports that in a shocking move move that comes just two weeks after the launch of Windows 8, Steven Sinofsky, the head of the Windows division at Microsoft is to leave the company. Sinofsky had been at the company for 23 years and had been seen by some as a future chief executive of the software giant but according to reports, there had been growing executive friction between Sinofsky and other top executives at the company. "This is shocking news. This is very surprising," says Brendan Barnicle, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities. "Like a lot of people, I thought Sinofsky was in line to potentially be Ballmer's successor." Sinofsky's place will be taken by Julie Larson-Green, another Windows executive who has been at Microsoft nearly as long as Sinofsky – joining in 1993 – and will be in charge of hardware and software for Windows. "If this had happened before Windows 8 shipped, I would have worried about potential delays," says Al Hilwa, program director for application software at the research company IDC. "The strategy of folding PC, tablet, phone and set-top into a single platform and ecosystem is the right strategy, and likely will continue to be the strategy of record.""