Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's Chief Software Architect, will be stepping down from his position.
TechCrunch highlights Ozzie's career at Microsoft:
Ozzie assumed the chief software architect’s role in June 2006. In his role, Ozzie was responsible for oversight of the company’s technical strategy and product architecture. Prior to this role, Ozzie was chief technical officer from April 2005 to June 2006. He assumed that position in April 2005 after Microsoft acquired Groove Networks, a next-generation collaboration software company he formed in 1997.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced the move in an email to Microsoft employees, the Seattle Post Intelligencer reports.
The email read:
From: StevebSent: Thursday, October 18, 2010To: Microsoft - All EmployeesSubject: Ray Ozzie Transition
This past March marked a significant milestone for the company when, in a speech at the University of Washington, I sent a message to the world that we're 'all in' when it comes to the cloud. In that speech I noted that Ray's Internet Services Disruption memo nearly five years ago, and his work since, stimulated thinking across the company and helped catalyze our drive to the cloud.
As a company, we've accomplished much in the past five years as we look at the cloud and services. Windows Live now serves as a natural web-based services complement to both Windows and Office. SharePoint and Exchange have now decidedly embraced the cloud. And by conceiving, incubating and shepherding Windows Azure, Ray helped ensure we have a tremendously rich platform foundation that will enable app-level innovation across the company and by customers for years to come.
With our progress in services and the cloud now full speed ahead in all aspects of our business, Ray and I are announcing today Ray's intention to step down from his role as chief software architect. He will remain with the company as he transitions the teams and ongoing strategic projects within his organization - bringing the great innovations and great innovators he's assembled into the groups driving our business. Following the natural transition time with his teams but before he retires from Microsoft, Ray will be focusing his efforts in the broader area of entertainment where Microsoft has many ongoing investments.
We have tremendous opportunities in the entertainment space overall, and I'm excited about what we can accomplish. Beyond that, Ray has no plans at this time. While he'll continue to report to me during the transition, the CSA role was unique and I won't refill the role after Ray's departure. We have a strong planning process, strong technical leaders in each business group and strong innovation heading to the market.
While Ray will be onboard for a while, I'd like to thank him today for his contributions to Microsoft, both as a leader and as a long-time Microsoft ISV. As an early ISV, Ray contributed significantly to the early success of Windows. Since being at Microsoft, both through inspiration and impact he's been instrumental in our transition toward a software world now centered on services. He's always been a 'maker' and a partner, and we look forward to our continuing collaboration as his future unfolds. Ray has played a critical role in helping us to assume the leadership position in the cloud, and positioned us well for future success.
Please join me in thanking Ray and wishing him well.
The departure has been seen bad news for Microsoft. Tech analyst Ben Kepes tweeted, "Ray Ozzie is leaving Microsoft - it's not hyperbole to say that this is an absolute disaster for Redmond." In a post on the announcement, Gigaom asked, "Has the future left the building?"
The Associated Press writes,
Wes Miller, an analyst for independent research group Directions on Microsoft, said that Ozzie has long pushed for Microsoft to "run at a much faster pace than they may honestly be comfortable with at their age." It's hard to tell if Ozzie was frustrated with the pace of change and wanted to leave, or was asked to step down, Miller said.