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What makes you think he was fired? He may not see Ballmer retiring anytime soon and decided to move on to something bigger and better.

The article suggests that he was "fired" in some way:

  > Sources have said the move came amid growing 
  > tension between Sinofsky and other top executives. 
  > Sinofsky, though seen as highly talented, was 
  > viewed at the top levels as not the kind of team 
  > player that the company was looking for...

  > In a press release, Ballmer praised Steven’s work,
  > but also talked about a need for “more integrated
  > and rapid development cycles for our offerings.”
Further, I think your parents' question still fits with a little bit of wrangling even if he wasn't fired. It would be interesting to know what it feels like to reach a very high rank at a company and then to step down.

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