Ex-Windows Chief Sinofsky Puts on VC Hat

Less than a year ago, the rumor mill was churning about a clash between Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Windows Chief Steve Sinofsky that seemingly caused Sinofsky to leave the company in November 2012. Now, the former president of both Windows and Windows Live will be working with Silicon Valley venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Sinofsky is joining the firm as a board partner, in what he calls a "unique" role. In the new position, Sinofsky will represent the firm on the boards of portfolio companies, when called upon, but will not be a full-time member of the firm.

"I'm relatively new to the VC world and have a lot of learning to do -- and I am very excited to do that," Sinofsky wrote in a blog post. "I can't think of a better place to do this than a16z [short for Andreessen Horowitz], as they share the commitment to learning and sharing that learning, for example through all the blog posts the GPs write."

A Team Player?

Sinofsky brings 23 years of Microsoft experience to the table. While in Redmond, Ballmer credited him with building an "incredible foundation" with new releases of Microsoft Office, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Microsoft Surface, Windows Server 2012 and Halo 4, as well as the integration of services such as Bing, Skype and Xbox across all the company's products.

But for all Sinofsky's success, he tended to ruffle feathers. Upon his departure from Microsoft in November last year, Enderle Group principal analyst Rob Enderle told us Sinofsky wasn't the right man to help Ballmer connect the dots in building a homogenous solution that crosses services on the backend, hardware on the front end, with Microsoft at both ends in between.

Andreessen, however, seems to believe Sinofsky is the right guy for the board partner role. In his blog...

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