John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Seven Companies Microsoft Doesn’t Want Former Windows Boss Steven Sinofsky to Work For

Steven Sinofsky

Steven Sinofsky

When former Windows president Steven Sinofsky resigned from Microsoft last November, he hammered out a “retirement agreement” with the company that entitled him to stock worth some $14 million. In exchange for that stock award,* he agreed for a period of time not to disparage Microsoft, not to solicit Microsoft employees for work at other companies and not to encourage Microsoft customers to choose competitors’ products. And, most importantly, he agreed not to compete with Microsoft by accepting employment at “certain competitors.”

Which certain competitors, Microsoft never disclosed. Until Tuesday afternoon, when it published the full text of Sinofsky’s retirement agreement as part of its annual 10-K filing. According to that document, Sinofsky cannot accept direct or indirect employment from:

  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • EMC
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Oracle
  • VMware

Hardly a surprising list, but still interesting from a competitive standpoint. Of all the companies with which Microsoft does battle in the marketplace, these are the seven it couldn’t stomach Sinofsky joining. For a time, anyway. Come Dec. 31, 2013, the 23-year Microsoft veteran can sign on with any of those companies without repercussions from his former employer.

* This is stock that would have vested and become payable to Sinofsky had he remained a Microsoft employee.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald