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Microsoft’s 10K filing reveals Steven Sinofsky’s non-compete agreement

Part of Microsoft and Steven Sinofsky’s separation agreement was an extensive non-compete clause. The companies in that clause show who Microsoft fears the most.


Last November, Microsoft and Windows big boss Steven Sinofsky decided to part ways. Publicly, the breakup was amicable as both parties wished each other well and went their separate directions.

But some directions will be blocked for Sinofsky. In Microsoft’s recent 10K filing with the SEC, the company revealed that Sinofsky had signed a non-compete clause with Microsoft that has barred him from working at Amazon, Apple, EMC, Google, Facebook, Oracle or VMware until December 31, 2013 (one year after his termination date).

Microsoft directly competes with these companies in some capacity or another. Apple is obvious, on the OS, personal computer, tablet and smartphone front. Amazon competes with Microsoft on in cloud and search, as does Google. Effectively, these are Microsoft’s most feared competitors given the fact that it is going to great lengths to prevent one of its former top executives from working at these firms.  This arrangement shows that more than anything, Microsoft wishes to protect its share of the high-margin cloud and server business.

The reason for Sinofsky’s termination were never made public, but they are painfully obvious to even the casual observer. Windows 8 bombed upon launch, and Surface sales never amounted to more than a trickle. At the same time it would be fair to say that fault should equally lie with Steve Ballmer, but the man whose title was Windows chief had to die for the sins of the company.

During his last year at Microsoft, Sinofsky’s compensation package amounted to approximately $8.5 million consisting of $658,333 in salary, a $1.5 million bonus and $6.4 million in stock options.

Source: EDGAR (SEC)


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