Talko the devil and he shall appear: Microsoft buys Ray Ozzie's startup

Redmond can't bear to be without Lotus Notes creator

Ray Ozzie

Lotus Notes daddy Ray Ozzie quit Microsoft five years ago – but Redmond just won’t let its former CTO go.

The Windows giant announced on Monday that it has bought his startup Talko for an unspecified sum.

"I am pleased to announce today that Microsoft has acquired technology from Talko, maker of an innovative mobile app for on-the-go business communications," said Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate vice president of Skype.

"As part of the agreement, Talko employees will join the Skype team. Together, the new technology and talent will help us deliver great new features and capabilities in both Skype and Skype for Business."

Talko, originally called Cocomo, offers a cloud-based VoIP system that allowed calls to be annotated, stored, and shared with other team members. As such it's a perfect fit for Skype.

"As part of the Skype team, we'll leverage Talko’s technology and the many things we’ve learned during its design and development. We'll strive to deliver the best of our product’s innovations far more broadly than on our current path," the firm said in a blog post.

While Redmond has taken on the Talko staff, it seems Ozzie won’t be going back to his old employer.

That's not altogether surprising, given the rancorous end to his career there. Ozzie was hired by Microsoft in 2005 when Redmond bought another company he founded, Groove Networks. He was named chief software architect shortly afterwards, replacing Bill Gates, and was tasked with sorting out Microsoft's cloud strategy.

Obviously, given Microsoft's dithering in the area, that didn’t work out too well. Ozzie was forced out of the company four years later amid tales of corporate backstabbing and turf wars within Redmond.

Under the circumstances you can see why Ozzie is taking a pass on going back to Microsoft. It's not like he needs the money. Ozzie cofounded Iris Associates which developed Lotus Notes for Lotus Corporation, which bought Iris for $84m in 1994 dollars. And he's had several highly paying jobs since then that make work a hobby these days, rather than a need. ®

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