Microsoft’s former Windows chief Sinofsky joins Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firm

22 Aug 2013

Former Windows chief Steven Sinofsky launches the Surface last year

Microsoft’s former head of Windows and the architect behind Windows 7 and 8 Steven Sinofsky has joined one of Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firms, Andreessen Horowitz.

Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) is noted for its success in investing in some of the most successful and iconic internet companies of our time, including Twitter, Facebook, Skype, Groupon, Airnb, Foursquare, Jawbone and Zynga.

The firm, started in 2009 by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, has invested in 156 companies, including 66 start-ups through its funding of Y Combinator.

Future Human

Writing in his Learning by Shipping blog today, Sinofsky wrote: “Board partners are unique at a16z. In this position, I will represent the firm on the boards of portfolio companies when the opportunities present themselves, but will not be a full-time member of the firm.

“I’m relatively new to the VC world and have a lot of learning to do – and I am very excited to do that. I can’t think of a better place to do this than a16z, as they share the commitment to learning and sharing that learning, for example, through all the blog posts the GPs (general partners) write. I first got to know Ben, Marc and some of the over 70 people at the firm starting late last year. What was so cool to see was the commitment to fostering innovation, product creation, and working with product-focused entrepreneurs.

“More than anything, what I find so cool about a16z are the values clearly articulated and lived day to day by everyone at the firm,” Sinofsky wrote.

Up until his departure from Microsoft last December, Sinofsky was president of the Windows division, where he drove the development of Windows 7 and Windows 8 operating systems.

His departure was viewed by many as a result of an internal power struggle between Sinofsky and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

In a recent SEC filing by Microsoft, it was agreed between the company and Sinofsky that he would have a non-compete contract for a year in exchange for an estimated US$14m worth of stock.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years