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Ex-Windows 8 chief agrees not to badmouth Microsoft, gets stock payout

Microsoft's former head of Windows 8 development has agreed not to badmouth Microsoft or work for some of its competitors and in return will receive a payout for unvested stock in the company, according to a regulatory filing Wednesday.

The "retirement agreement" with Steven Sinofsky, who left Microsoft in November after leading the development of its Windows 8 OS and Surface tablet, is described by Microsoft in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Sinofsky has agreed to not compete with Microsoft by accepting a job at certain competitors, which were not named, or encouraging customers to move away from its products. He's also agreed not to solicit Microsoft employees to work at other companies, not to "disparage" Microsoft and not to take part in any litigation against the company, the filing says.

In return, Microsoft will pay Sinofsky the value of his outstanding unvested stock options up to the start of Microsoft's 2013 fiscal year, which began last July, and award him other stock compensation.

It didn't provide a dollar figure for the agreement but it said Sinofsky had stock award agreements totaling 418,361 shares, which at Wednesday's closing price would be worth $14.2 million.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com

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