When Steven Sinofsky's departure from Microsoft came out, it was framed by Microsoft in a way that implied he might have just left, or that that was at least a possibility. Now, ExtremeTech is reporting that was not the case; Sinofsky was straight-up fired by Ballmer.
While the report indicates that former heir apparent Sinofsky was quite suddenly and explicitly fired as opposed to choosing to leave, the precise reasoning behind the decision isn't known. Sinofsky was known for being difficult to work with, and reportedly refused to put tablet support into Windows 7 and dragged his feet on tablet projects in general. That being the case, it's easy to see how he would not fit well into a Microsoft that's making an effort to develop a more consolidated product and promote cooperation between arms.
With all that on the table, it looks likely that Sinofsky's dismissal had nothing to do with the success/failure of the Windows 8 launch, another common rumor. Instead, it seems all the more likely it was due to increasingly counterproductive clashes in a culture that's pushing for unity. If that is the case however, it seems like Ballmer could have picked a less unfortunate time to pull the trigger on this particular dismissal. In any event, it looks like this change will be a boon for a unified Windows ecosystem. And who knows, maybe you'll even get your start button back. [ExtremeTech]