Today an SEC filing broke the news that former Windows boss Steven Sinofsky has settled up with Microsoft, coming to an agreement that for a firm chunk of stock and a generous vesting schedule, he will essentially go quietly into the night.
Sinofsky does well under the agreement, with part of his vesting pattern holding steady “based on the vesting schedule that would have applied in connection with a qualifying ‘retirement’ on his separation date under his stock award agreements.” This is, if read properly, an indication of a abrupt exit.
It was widely rumored that due to strong friction between Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer and Sinofsky, the latter was shown the door. The move came as a surprise, occurring quickly following the launch of Windows 8 and Surface, two key Sinofsky projects.
The filing indicates that Sinofsky can’t poach Microsoft employees, leak its intellectual property and the like. It’s about as standard an agreement as you can find in that regard.
Microsoft commented on the agreement for TNW:
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.
The total value of the 418,361 shares that Sinofsky will vest in increments comes to around $14.2 million, a very tidy sum.
Since his departure from Microsoft, Sinofsky has begun teaching at Harvard Business School. Given the brusqueness of his exit, it’s worth noting that Sinofsky and Microsoft have kept any left-over tension about the past to themselves.
Update: The original version of this story indicated that Sinoksky might have been party in some capacity to a Microsoft suit with a third-party entity. This was due to a misreading of the above statement. TNW has learned that that is not the case. We apologize for the confusion.
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