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Former Microsoft Heir Apparent Joins Box as Advisor

It’s funny how corporate politics plays out. In fact, you are left wondering if there isn’t much difference between Machiavelli’s Florentine politics and the inner workings of large bureaucratized companies. Indeed, just as there are purges in the inner circles of communist governments, the shuffles and pushing, both overt and more subtle, in corporate America all have the same results-some go up, some go down, so go to the side so they leave. At least, in the corporate version of this ‘King of the Hill’ game, the losing candidates don’t end up in a ditch ala Stalinist or Maoist China. Still, the difference might not be all that great considering that the surviving rank and file of any large corporation often feel demotivated and discouraged in the wake of a great shakeup. Well, one key person who left Microsoft due to a recent shakeup, Steven Sinofsky, is not your run-off-the-mill ex-corporate type. He, after all, was the genius and mover and shaker behind Microsoft’s overall product and Windows in particular. Yes, he is that awesome dude. The man with the plan who stood behind the man behind the man behind the man (sorry for the cheap ‘Swingers’ rip-I couldn’t resist).

It is not without a hint of irony that Sinofsky was welcomed on board as an advisor to up and coming cloud computing powerhouse Box. Why the irony? Box is making a name for itself in an industry Microsoft so badly wants to dominate-cloud services and storage. You really can’t blame Microsoft for being eager to hit the ball out of the park in this space. After all, the company did miss the boat completely on the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. Talk about rubbing it into Microsoft’s face. Well, Box chief Aaron Levie said that this move wasn’t intended as a digital gauntlet slap. Nothing of that sort. If anything, Box wants to get closer to Microsoft.

Sinofsky’s addition to the Box team makes all the sense in the world. After all, Sinofsky is already a board partner at the same VC company backing Box, Andreesen Horowitz. Let’s see how Sinofsky’s addition as advisor can help Box’s overall positioning and strategy. We wouldn’t be surprised if some of Sinofsky’s genius rubs off on Box. Which kind of begs the question: why isn’t this dude the replacement for Steve Ballmer? Many people tracking Microsoft have thought this man was the heir apparent for the Redmond Washington software giant.