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Windows 8 chief quits Microsoft

Steven Sinofsky exits amid new OS and tablet launch

The head of the Windows division at Microsoft has left the company after 23 years of service, just days after the worldwide launch of Windows 8 and the Surface tablets.

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Steven Sinofsky, whose final task appears to have been leading the team developing Windows 8, is to be replaced by fellow Windows exec Julie Larson-Green.

Microsoft has not explained reasons for Sinofsky's departure, though the move comes while the company has chosen to not disclose the sales figures for its Surface tablet other than to say they are "modest".

Meanwhile, in the year leading up to the launch of Windows 8 there has been a vehement debate on whether it is a step forwards for the entertainment industries.

Respected games executive Gabe Newell branded the machine "a catastrophe while Minecraft creator Markus Persson said the new OS could "ruin the PC as an open platform".

In an email statement sent to employees, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said the company has "delivered the foundation for a new era for Microsoft".

"From Office to Bing to Windows Phone and Windows Azure, to Xbox and of course Windows and Surface and everything in between, we've unleashed a huge wave of devices and services that people and businesses love," read his statement, which was published on Venture Beat.

"We are facing a time of great opportunity. What we have accomplished over the past few years is nothing short of amazing, and I know we have more amazing in us. I am excited about our people, I am energised by our ability to change and grow, and I look forward to the success which lies ahead."

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