Feeds

Microsoft loses chief software architect Ray Ozzie

Bill Gates replacement finished

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Bill Gates' replacement at Microsoft, Ray Ozzie, is leaving the company after just five years.

Ozzie is stepping down as chief software architect - the jobs Gates last occupied - and will only remain with Microsoft to transition his teams and people to other groups. Ozzie joined Microsoft in 2005 and became chief software architect a year later when Gates' exit from Microsoft was announced.

The chief software architect role will not be filled after Ozzie's exit, chief executive Steve Ballmer has said (warning: PDF) in an email.

No date was given for when Ozzie will leave Microsoft, but before he leaves, Ozzie will also be "focusing his efforts in the broader area of entertainment." Ozzie has no plans beyond this, Ballmer said.

Ballmer didn't say exactly what that meant or whether that involves working on Xbox, Kinect - previously codenamed Project Natal - or Windows Phone.

Microsoft's CEO credited Ozzie with helping to catalyze Microsoft's move to the cloud.

During his time, computing's famously quiet thought leader wrote a memo that's credited with being instrumental in Microsoft's transition toward cloud and software-as-a-service: the Internet Services Disruption memo.

Ballmer enthused that during the last five years, Microsoft has accomplished much, having moved SharePoint and Exchange to the cloud and launched its Windows Azure platform for running applications in the cloud.

Ozzie was a hot hire for Microsoft in 2005, coming on board with the acquisition of his online collaboration start-up Groove Networks. Ozzie became Microsoft's chief technical officer.

Chiefly credited with creating Lotus Notes, a piece of collaborationware Microsoft has spent years trying to eradicate, Ozzie was looked up to by Gates - a rarity for a somebody famously intolerant of others. Ozzie was named Gates' replacement as chief software architect when Microsoft announced a two-year transition for Gates out of Microsoft.

During his time with Microsoft, Ozzie created the team that built Windows Azure, now in the Microsoft's Server and Tools division, and he championed FUSE Labs and its work bringing Office collaboration capabilities online via Facebook via Docs.com.

But Microsoft's chief software architect has never really shone. He's rarely spoken in public to articulate or evangelize a vision to inspire the Windows or .NET faithful.

Ozzie's exit will be seen in mixed tones. On the one hand, it'll be seen as one more mark against a company struggling to regain the position at the vanguard of innovation. Also, further proof Microsoft is unable to attract and retain on a long-term basis talent from outside.

Given Ozzie's low profile, and his status as architect of the less-than-exciting Notes, his exit will likely barely register among many.

Either way, Ozzie's move is as sudden as it is curious: Ballmer's email painted Ozzie's exit as the end of major combat operations in terms of Microsoft having delivered on Ozzie's cloud thinking.

But Ozzie's move begs the questions: who's doing the big technology thinking now, and who will conceive and captain the "three-screens and a cloud" idea Ozzie helped popularize and was so happy to quote? The three screens in this scenario referred to the PC, phone, and TV.

Now we know why Ozzie was recently clearing out his office. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS: Great changes, but sssh don't mention the...
Why HELLO Amazon! You weren't here last time
OpenBSD founder wants to bin buggy OpenSSL library, launches fork
One Heartbleed vuln was too many for Theo de Raadt
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Got Windows 8.1 Update yet? Get ready for YET ANOTHER ONE – rumor
Leaker claims big release due this fall as Microsoft herds us into the CLOUD
Next Windows obsolescence panic is 450 days from … NOW!
The clock is ticking louder for Windows Server 2003 R2 users
Patch iOS, OS X now: PDFs, JPEGs, URLs, web pages can pwn your kit
Plus: iThings and desktops at risk of NEW SSL attack flaw
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
Apple inaugurates free OS X beta program for world+dog
Prerelease software now open to anyone, not just developers – as long as you keep quiet
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.