Microsoft's Software Seer Ray Ozzie Set to Depart Company

Ballmer emails employees to announce chief software architect to hand off duties, turn attention to entertainment area, before leaving. Microsoft will not fill job, chief exec says.

October 19, 2010
By

D.H. Kass

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Microsoft Corp. said that Ray Ozzie, its chief software architect, and the main cog in the vendor’s cloud computing strategy, will begin handing off his duties to others and eventually step down from his role, according to an internal email Steve Ballmer, the vendor's chief executive, sent to employees Monday.

Ozzie, who Ballmer credited with “conceiving, incubating and shepherding Windows Azure,” Microsoft’s cloud platform, will remain with the vendor to transition teams within his organization, tidy up strategic projects and lend a hand in the vendor’s entertainment division before departing, the memo said.

Ballmer wrote that Ozzie has no concrete plans for life after Microsoft. In calling Ozzie’s role “unique,” Baller said that the vendor will leave the position vacant.

“We have a strong planning process, strong technical leaders in each business group and strong innovation heading to the market.,” Ballmer said.

Ozzie joined Microsoft five years ago when the vendor acquired his Groove Networks, a maker of collaboration software, to succeed Bill Gates as chief technical officer.

Shortly thereafter, he sent a memo, whose subject he termed the “Internet Services Disruption,” in which he outlined the thinking behind Microsoft’s move to the cloud.

“Computing and communications technologies have dramatically and progressively improved to enable the viability of a services-based model,” Ozzie wrote in his 2005 memo.

“The ubiquity of broadband and wireless networking has changed the nature of how people interact, and they’re increasingly drawn toward the simplicity of services and service-enabled software that ‘just works’,” he wrote.

Foretelling the cloud, he wrote, “Businesses are increasingly considering what services-based economics of scale might do to help them reduce infrastructure costs or deploy solutions as-needed and on subscription basis.”

In describing Ozzie’s contribution to Microsoft, Ballmer said that “he’s always been a ‘maker’ and a partner, and we look forward to our continuing collaboration as his future unfolds.”

TAGS: cloud computing,Microsoft,Azure,Ballmer,Ray Ozzie



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