In Microsoft's executive offices, Sinofsky gets credit for keeping the wheels of two of Microsoft's biggest engines running. Questions about products with soul or technological innovation become less pressing when his Windows division generates $12.2 billion in annual operating profit on sales of $19 billion, as it did in the last fiscal year. When it comes to upgrading existing products, quality control can often trump creativity.
That success has increased Sinofsky's power within Microsoft. He increasingly is seen as one of the few executives not just at Microsoft, but anywhere, who can successfully marshal a massive team to release a product as complex as Windows. It's Microsoft's moonshot, a multi-year endeavor on which more than 4,000 workers toil.
Beyond the immediate excitement swirling around tomorrow's Apple event, I would argue the bigger story of the week unquestionably lies with Microsoft.
One of the most compelling narratives over the past few years in the technology community has been the purported revival of Microsoft. The Redmond giant has sought to shed its antiquated ways for a youthful, self-disruptive, and overhauled look.
Given the size and significance of the company, such an outset goal is audacious to say the least.
With the impending release of Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and the Microsoft Surface, we're on the cusp of witnessing one of the biggest shifts in the technology community in years. Regardless of whatever allegiances you may hold to Apple, Google, Microsoft, or otherwise, this is a moment of unequivocal importance to the industry.
Personally, despite my well-documented disappointment with Windows Phone 7, I've chosen to regard this threefold release with some semblance of open-minded optimism.
I'm well aware of the potential for catastrophe, but I'm also impressed with the bold thinking belying Microsoft's move toward a unifying interface, its own hardware, and a renewed focus upon different form factors.
Microsoft's approach to this revival is fraught with contradiction and inefficiency, but the shift is nonetheless endearing, timely, and befitting of the shifting industry.
For all of this, if Sinofsky's plan proves profitable and successful, I imagine he'll be first in line for the CEO position in a post-Ballmer Microsoft. And that could well make for a fascinating competitive landscape, indeed.