Congratulations today to Steven Sinofsky, an old Microsoft hand, who having managed to avoid the Vista disaster while still delivering Office and Windows 7 on-time today finds himself President of Windows, responsible for the OS, Windows Live, and Internet Explorer.
This is as much a confirmation of Steve Ballmer's belief that Microsoft has turned the corner on Vista as anything you'll find. Sinofsky's leadership with Windows 7 has been judged a success--and the product isn't even finished yet.
If there is a single word that defines the Sinofsky regime, it's discipline. He is not known for making the mistake of promising too much, too soon, and is recognized for getting products out the door pretty much on schedule. The feature list may change, but the ship date is firm. Shipping, it's said, may be the most important product feature of them all.
It is also worth nothing, that Win 7 itself is an act of discipline. A major complaint about Vista was its expansiveness. It was too big a change in too many ways and, essentially, ended up tripping over itself. A noble failure, perhaps, but a failure nonetheless.
Win 7 doesn't expand upon Vista, but reigns it in, delivering many of Vista's benefits in a package that is more familiar and doesn't try to do too much. Win 7 is a minimalist Vista, if you will, and has so far been accepted with much acclaim.
The Sinofsky approach, if that's what it is, has worked for Windows 7 and seems to have won him a pass to work on whatever is next. This includes the Azure cloud OS and the whole issue of Internet-based applications and whatever Microsoft does to repond to Google Chrome OS, both the browser and operating system.
Sinfosky's challenge may not be to come up with Window 8 as much as to lead Microsoft into a future where operating systems aren't as important as they once were and where cloud-based applications and services will drive innovation and revenue.