At Microsoft, Steven Sinofsky ran Office, Windows and Windows Live product development and then became President, Windows before abruptly leaving the company in 2012 in what Wikipedia generously refers to as a “power struggle or friction between himself… and CEO Steve Ballmer.” Sinofsky took over the Windows Division after the launch of Windows Vista, getting the train back on the tracks by cleaning up many of Vista’s mistakes and introducing Windows 7. He then tried, and largely failed, to shift Windows to a more touch and mobile friendly Windows 8, which launched in 2012, partly as a response to Apple’s iPad.
This week, marking the 10th anniversary of the iPad, Sinofsky has taken, as he does, to Twitter to reflect back on not only the launch of the iPad but the effect it had on Windows and Microsoft. The Twitter thread is largely a recap of the state of the tablet industry at the time (think cheap Netbooks and “a few fringe Chinese ODMs … shopping hacky tablets”), and a retelling of Steve Jobs’ masterful introduction of the iPad onstage. Sinofsky does go on, however, to note the sea change that occurred, and how it affected the core of Microsoft’s business, Windows:
It’s interesting to read Sinofsky’s thoughts on the iPad, and to note the level of disruption that both the iPhone and the iPad had on Microsoft. The “leading platform provider for computers” was for the first time in twenty years was in dispute, and although Microsoft has recovered nicely by focusing less on consumers and more on the cloud, Jobs’ “magical” introduction of the iPad not only took the world by storm but took Microsoft by surprise.