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Ex-Microsoft exec Sinofsky joins Silicon Valley venture capital firm

Windows' and Windows Live Division President, Steven Sinofsky, holds a Surface tablet computer as he introduces the new Windows 8 operating
Windows' and Windows Live Division President, Steven Sinofsky, holds a Surface tablet computer as he introduces the new Windows 8 operating

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Steven Sinofsky, the hard-charging former Microsoft Corp executive, has joined the prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz as a part-time "board partner," representing the firm on certain boards of companies it invests in.

The move, announced on Sinofsky's personal blog on Thursday, is slightly surprising given Marc Andreessen, co-founder of the venture capital firm, has long been a critic of Microsoft, since Microsoft effectively crushed his Netscape Communications browser company in the 1990s.

Founded in 2009, Andreessen Horowitz is one of Silicon Valley's newest and most prominent venture funds, which has recently backed companies such as photo-sharing business Instagram and accommodation service Airbnb.

Sinofsky left Microsoft unexpectedly in November, just after he led the rollout of Windows 8, after an uncomfortable relationship with CEO Steve Ballmer.

He has kept a low profile since then, teaching a class at Harvard Business School. An agreement with Microsoft prevents him from working with direct rivals such as Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc or Facebook Inc for a year.

"I'm especially excited to learn by spending more time with entrepreneurs and those creating new technologies and products," said Sinofsky on his blog. "Andreessen Horowitz is a VC firm that believes deeply in helping entrepreneurs and helping change the product and business landscape."

(Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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