In November 2012, Steven Sinofsky, who was the president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft was forced out by Steve Ballmer. Sinofsky was known to have battled with executives, alienated workers in groups outside his Windows empire, and created a generally toxic environment, according to sources. Update Aug. 23: Sinofsky announced this week that he's venturing into venture capital territory, becoming a board member at Andreessen Horowitz.
Caption byJames Martin / Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft chief technical officer, started at Microsoft in 1986 and was one of Bill Gates' close confidants. After leaving in 2000, Myhrvold formed Intellectual Ventures, often criticized as a patent troll for their methods of buying up patents and then profiting by either funding inventions, seeking licensing deals, or suing those using their IP.
Intellectual Ventures has collected nearly 70,000 "intellectual assets" on technologies ranging from nuclear power to camera lenses. It currently controls about 40,000 intellectual assets.
In addition, Myhrvold is a serious amateur cook and has authored a cookbook, "Modernist Cuisine," released in March 2011. He has also won first place at the Memphis barbecue championship and appeared as a guest judge on Top Chef.
Here, founder and CEO of The International Culinary Center Dorothy Cann Hamilton and Myhrvold give a demonstration at The International Culinary Center on November 15, 2011, in New York City.
Caption byJames Martin / Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The International Culinary Center
Google Vice President Vic Gundotra is a former Microsofter, too, having served as a manager and advocate for developers from 1991 until 2005.
Perhaps the most unique post-Microsoft career pivot is held by Jamen Shively, a former corporate strategy manager for Redmond who is aiming to build a marijuana empire, which he hopes can control 40% of the world's pot market.
Caption byJames Martin / Photo by Cannabis Culture Mag/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET
Since leaving Microsoft 11 years ago, Joachim Kempin, has turned bashing his former employer into a career in and of itself, authoring a book that takes some direct shots at Ballmer and Microsoft's board.
Greg Maffei, pictured in the center here, was a finance manager at Microsoft through the '90s and served as the company's chief financial officer from 1997 until his departure in 2000.
Overture's Chris McGurk, Liberty Media President and CEO Greg Maffei. and Overture's Danny Rosett arrive at the premiere of Overture Film's "Mad Money" held at Mann Village Theater on January 9, 2008. in Westwood, Calif.
Caption byJames Martin / Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Overture
Chinese technologist and serial entrepreneur Kai-Fu Lee was at Apple from 1990–1996 prior to joining Microsoft in 1998, where he stayed until 2005, before joining Google.
Today, Lee is the chair and CEO of Innovation Works, a fund which aims to create 5 innovative start-up each year in the internet, mobile, and cloud computing space.
Caption byJames Martin / Photo by Ana-Bianca Marin/Getty Images
Stephen Elop held positions at Macromedia and Adobe before joining Microsoft as the head of the Business Division, responsible for the Microsoft Office, in 2008, but he didn't stay long, leaving after just two years to become the president and CEO of Nokia.
Kevin Johnson joined Microsoft in 1992 and stayed there for 16 years, holding various executive positions during his tenure including group vice president of Microsoft's worldwide sales, marketing and services, and co-president of the Windows and Online Services division, and president of the Windows and Online Services division.
Today, Johnson is the chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors of Juniper Networks.
During his time at Microsoft from 1986 to 2000, Paul Maritz was part of the core executive team, responsible for much of Microsoft's core strategy and product development including the desktop software like Windows 95, Windows NT, and Internet Explorer.
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the 53rd-richest person in the world with an estimated wealth of $15 billion, has been involved in various business and philanthropic efforts through the years.
He is the founder and chairman of Vulcan Inc. Allen also has a multi-billion dollar investment portfolio including technology companies, real estate holdings, and stakes in other technology, media, and content companies.
Allen notably also owns two professional sports teams, the NFL's Seattle Seahawks and the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers, as well as partial owner of the Major League Soccer team the Seattle Sounders FC.
When he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1982, Allen stepped back from his role at Microsoft and never really returned, becoming increasingly distanced from the company through the years. In 2000, Allen officially resigned from the Microsoft board of directors.