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July 6, 2020

Team lead Dona Sarkar leaves Windows Insider team

The Windows Insider team announced yesterday, October 7th, that Dona Sarkar had left the team. Although that was hardly a surprise to anyone having followed the team since the 1809 catastrophe, the way it was handled shows it was done suddenly and without advance preparation. There was no clean transition this time: no new lead was ready and prepared to take over. Instead, I think Dona Sarkar leaving came as a big surprise to herself and whole Insider team. Here’s what Eran Megiddo, Corporate Vice President, Windows and Education wrote about this change on the Insider blog yesterday:

Though bittersweet, today I’m proud to announce that Dona will be moving to a new role at the company. She will be joining the Microsoft Developer Relations team to lead advocacy for Citizen Developers, especially how they use the Power Platform (Microsoft Flow, PowerApps and Power BI).

Currently, we are conducting a search for a new leader of the Windows Insider Program.

It’s understandable, of course, that something had to be done. Anyway, it does not happen often at Microsoft that the search for a new team lead only begins after the old one has left or been sacked. The mystery behind all of this just deepens when you check the team’s social media and Insider blog. Only Friday of last week, Dona looked back at the first five years for the Insider program (that anniversary was week ago), ending the Insider blog post as to say “See you on Monday”:

What have been some of your favorite moments? Join us in celebrating on social media by using the hashtags #WIPTurns5 and #InsidersShowUp. We can’t wait to see what the next 5 years brings!
❤ Dona and The Windows Insider Team

Yet, Monday morning at 9 AM Redmond time, Eran Megiddo announced that Dona Sarkar had left the team. Officially, the Windows Insider team has not commented Dona’s departure at all.

It will be interesting to see who the new team lead will be. Apparently, the current team has no suitable candidates to take over. In addition, Microsoft certainly wants some clear and obvious changes to the team. Thus, my guess is that a new team lead will be brought from outside. Perhaps a senior Windows and Education team member? Maybe, like Insider programs first lead Gabe Aul, someone from Microsoft’s engineering systems team? Equally interesting will be to see if the Insider program can change its course. Ideally, I’d like to to be once again something we Insiders can take seriously, and that shows some respect and consideration for Insider input.

Whatever will happen, we’ll have to wait and see. Personally, I am hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.


Author: Kari Finn

A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.

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