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Steven Sinofsky agrees to Microsoft non-compete through 2013, pockets $14 million in shares

Steven Sinofsky agrees to Microsoft non-compete through 2013, pockets $14 million in shares

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Former Microsoft executive Steven Sinofsky has finalized his leaving agreement with the software giant this week. In an SEC filing published on Wednesday, Microsoft notes that the ex-Windows chief is being rewarded with 418,361 shares ($14.2 million at current stock price). The "Retirement Agreement" also reveals that Microsoft is enforcing a non-compete agreement that will prevent Sinofsky from "accepting employment at certain competitors or encouraging certain customers of Microsoft to choose a competing offering to Microsoft products," until December 31st 2013. Sinofsky will also be prevented from criticizing the software maker as part of a "not disparage Microsoft" clause.

That's a fairly standard agreement for executive level employees, but big companies often relax non-compete agreements if the result of a worker leaving is beneficial to an existing or future partnership. Sinofsky announced his departure in November, just weeks after Microsoft shipped Windows 8, leaving Julie Larson-Green to start work on the company's Windows 8.1 update that entered preview recently.

Sources said a clash of personalities led to Sinofsky's departure, blaming aggressive control over Windows and roadblocks to other products inside of Microsoft. Sinofsky has previously spoken out and denied he tried to take over the Windows Phone division, but he has largely remained quiet for nearly eight months now. It appears it will remain that way thanks to this "Retirement Agreement." Sinofsky is currently teaching at Harvard Business School, and continues to detail his management experiences in lengthy posts on his learning by shipping blog.

Update: A Microsoft spokesperson has just supplied the following statement:

Given Steven’s 23 years of strong service at Microsoft, which included leading teams that produced six versions of Office and two versions of Windows, the company will continue to provide him with the economic value of the stock awards he earned during his employment, similar to the retirement benefits we provide employees who work at least 15 years and retire at 55 or older. This agreement provides a number of important considerations for Microsoft, including a commitment that Steven will continue assisting with intellectual property litigation until January 1, 2017.