May 5, 2020 - Technology

Ex-Windows boss Steven Sinofsky plans book on Microsoft days

Ina Fried, author of Login

Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Steven Sinofsky, the former Microsoft executive and current Andreessen Horowitz board partner, has been working on a book chronicling what he learned during his decades at Microsoft, including his time leading the Office and Windows teams.

Why it matters: There are a lot of lessons today's tech giants can learn from Microsoft's experiences — and Sinofsky was at Microsoft for many of its most crucial moments.

"I'm so often asked by founders and execs at big companies 'why' or 'how' or 'what were you thinking' about the products I was fortunate enough to work on at Microsoft that I thought I would write down the stories about organization, management, culture, that I often share."
— Sinofsky, in an interview with Axios

What he's saying: In an excerpt published Monday night on Fast Company's website, Sinofsky recalls early security headaches — including the ILOVEYOU email worm, which infected computers 20 years ago this week.

  • "ILOVEYOU hit Microsoft at a time when we were emerging from the early days of the PC as a tech enthusiast product transitioning to a full-on enterprise company," Sinofsky told me on Monday.
  • "Much of what I share in the excerpt is about coming to grips with the importance of trust with customers while at the same time balancing the openness of platforms with the need to maintain safety and security."

The backstory: Sinofsky said he had hoped to publish the book soon, but like many other things, the plans have been disrupted by the pandemic.

  • "The timing for completing the project depends on how quickly the publishing market returns to its new normal," he told Fast Company in a Q&A accompanying the excerpt.

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