Windows Insider Program is Leaderless

Posted on October 7, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 30 Comments

Microsoft Delivers Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16237

And I mean that literally: Dona Sarkar is moving on to a new role at Microsoft, and hopefully there will be major changes.

“Dona Sarkar [has] been a steward for the program and tireless advocate for the community and the important role you play,” Microsoft corporate vice president Eran Megiddo writes. “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).”

The Windows Insider Program plays an outsized role in how Microsoft enthusiasts interact with the company, but it has, unfortunately, had little positive impact on the quality of Windows 10. So I’m hoping that this change will lead to some improvements in the program. Certainly, Dona has seemed distracted by her other ventures, especially this past year, and the program seems to have moved from being engineering-focused to being purely about marketing.

Microsoft says that it is currently looking for a new leader for the Windows Insider Program. In the meantime, the old crew will continue interacting with the community, though it’s not clear if they too will have to find work elsewhere at the company. Hopefully, the Insider Program can return to its former glory either way.

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Comments (30)

30 responses to “Windows Insider Program is Leaderless”

  1. rob jansen

    Sad to see Dona go, but it seems that she was already moving on (besides the cleaning the office tweet) the last year. Less and less we saw.


    My opinion is that the Insider Program needs to be more technical instead that it was, the many different branches for these day's makes it to complicated of even necessary.

    Back in the early days there was just 1 build per week of a current in development version, not 2 or 3 and even that A/B testing.


    Personally the whole 'ninja cat theme' a little bit, lets say, not that professional for a 'professional program'.


    I miss Gabe in that sense, hopefully they will find some who can succeed in making the insider program good again, really focusing on testing the stuff in builds, not under locking key or A/B testing.

  2. saint4eva

    Microsoft Surface Event was a great success. Microsoft is pushing boundaries.

  3. pecosbob04

    "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).”"


    Keyboard issues?


  4. jmwoods301

    If there were a vote, mine would be for Scott Hanselman.

  5. bbold

    Was the quality of Windows truly in Dona's hands, though? I think when Microsoft got rid of internal testers and began using Insiders and the general public as test bait that this sealed the fate for Windows quality no matter who was/is in charge. Just a thought.

  6. madthinus

    That glass is as full as the promise that is the Windows Insider Program.

  7. rmlounsbury

    It did seem like she had been doing advocating for anything but Windows Insiders for awhile now and has clearly been on the dev advocacy side for sometime. I'm glad the change is official so we can move on to someone who will actually be focused on Windows Insider.


    Donna is a great person and excellent advocate for Microsoft. But it was clear insider was not her primary function.

  8. bart

    People start a petition to get Windows Phone on Surface Duo (for some reason...), instead, they better start a petition to get Gabe back. I enjoyed the Insider Program under his leadership. That said, I highly doubt Gabe would be available.


    Any thoughts Paul? Anyone you'd like to see lead the Insider program?

  9. hrlngrv

    If there were more acknowledgement in the Feedback Hub from MSFT employees that identified problems were problems and would be fixed (though no timelines), it'd be a lot better Insiders providing feedback. As the Feedback Hub currently works, MSFT could save a lot of money offloading it to Facebook.

  10. shmuelie

    I find it interesting that they don't have a replacement already.

  11. dougkinzinger

    As much as it is unpleasant to admit, Dona needed to move on. Hopefully the program can actually start improving the quality of Windows 10 going forward.

  12. solomonrex

    These sorts of programs should be limited to new features and UAT type stuff, and QC teams should do basic hardware QC. Too many organizations are struggling with Windows 10 rollouts, even the non-bleeding edge stuff.

  13. Thomas Parkison

    "The Windows Insider Program plays an outsized role in how Microsoft enthusiasts interact with the company, but it has, unfortunately, had little positive impact on the quality of Windows 10."


    Yeah, the only way that Windows 10 will get better is if they dump the whole Windows Insider idea and hire back real quality control testers inside the company. Years ago, the fiasco with the last two updates to Windows 10 would have never happened but today it's par for the course. Microsoft seriously needs to rethink what they want to do with Windows 10 because if they keep going down this road with it people are going to be losing a lot of faith in Windows to be a stable platform to depend on.


    I've had to pause Windows Update in hopes that Microsoft will fix the issues with the last two updates for the last two updates have completely broken the Action Center for my system. That means Bluetooth functionality is completely broken since I can't access the Connect functionality.

  14. eric_rasmussen

    Microsoft's leadership doesn't seem to care that much about Windows anymore. The company keeps releasing cross platform development tools while wrecking update reliability for Windows 10. It almost makes you think they want you to get off of Windows and use something else.

  15. ngc224

    "Dona has seemed distracted by her other ventures, especially this past year, and the program seems to have moved from being engineering-focused to being purely about marketing."


    Bingo! I wish Dona the best in her new role, but this is a good move.

  16. Simon Flynn

    Had she taken a step back from the Insider Programme for a while now? It kind of seemed like she wasn't working day to day on the actually programme from her tweets and whatnot.

  17. StephenCWLL

    Pleased by this. It's all become a little silly under Dona's leadership.

  18. codymesh

    Isn't Microsoft is building Windows 10X with basically zero input from "insiders"? If that's the future of Windows, it means we're basically already back to how things were done pre-Windows 10.


    I'm not too mad at how things are currently. 1903 brought important improvements in terms of UX, removing bloat, and better control over updates. And the rollout of the update hasn't been as tragic or disruptive as 1809 was.

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