Microsoft's Ray Ozzie Stepping Down As Chief Software Architect

All good things, as they say, must eventually come to an end. Even for high ranking officials at Microsoft. The world didn't end when Bill Gates decided to call it quits, and we suspect that Microsoft will forge ahead even with Ray Ozzie, but it will be a different company without him in the office. Ray Ozzie is Microsoft's Chief Software Architect...or, he was. Steve Ballmer penned an open letter today that basically announced Ray's departure, and if you weren't paying attention years back, Ray actually took over for Bill Gates way back when.

Ray is largely credited with pushing Microsoft into a world dominated by cloud services, and now that storage is moving from local to cloud in a big way, he looks extremely prophetic. Ray will be leaving his role but remaining with the company as he transitions the teams and ongoing strategic projects within his organization.  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. Beyond that, Ray is announcing no public plans.

Interestingly, Ballmer has noted that he will not be filling the CSA position once Ray leaves. Again, it'll be quite different with him no longer around. Farewell Ray, and thanks for bringing attention to the cloud we're so fond of today.
Via:  Microsoft
3vi1 4 years ago

Soooo... The world's largest software company doesn't need a Chief Software Architect.

I would say Ballmer's lost his mind, but that's pretty much a given. I guess he thinks Ozzie was just brought in to keep the stock price up when Bill left? Oh wait... that's not such a crazy theory given their history of simply copying successful products.

animatortom 4 years ago

I am sure they will just outsource that job to India :P

They will probably bring the cheif designer for Ubuntu in as a consultant have him copy it, then slap an MS label on it and Viola...Windows 8!

Then they will just make everyone say...I'm a PC and Windows 8, was my idea :D

digitaldd 4 years ago

Its pretty clear to me that Ozzie was just cashing checks his entire time at Microsoft. not one innovative thing added to anything he worked on. What you say what about all the Groove stuff in the Office 07/10, well who uses any of it?

digitaldd 4 years ago

Maybe what I said above isn't so true.

Mr Ozzie's blog has some intersting stuff.



Complexity kills. Complexity sucks the life out of users, developers and IT.  Complexity makes products difficult to plan, build, test and use.  Complexity introduces security challenges.  Complexity causes administrator frustration.

And as time goes on and as software products mature – even with the best of intent – complexity is inescapable.

Indeed, many have pointed out that there’s a flip side to complexity:  in our industry, complexity of a successful product also tends to provide some assurance of its longevity.  Complex interdependencies and any product’s inherent ‘quirks’ will virtually guarantee that broadly adopted systems won’t simply vanish overnight.  And so long as a system is well-supported and continues to provide unique and material value to a customer, even many of the most complex and broadly maligned assets will hold their ground.  And why not?  They’re valuable.  They work.

But so long as customer or competitive requirements drive teams to build layers of new function on top of a complex core, ultimately a limit will be reached.  Fragility can grow to constrain agility.  Some deep architectural strengths can become irrelevant – or worse, can become hindrances.

Our PC software has driven the creation of an amazing ecosystem, and is incredibly valuable to a world of customers and partners.  And the PC and its ecosystem is going to keep growing, and growing, for a long time to come.  But today, as I wrote five years ago, ”Just as in the past, we must reflect upon what’s going on around us, and reflect upon our strengths, weaknesses and industry leadership responsibilities, and respond.  As much as ever, it’s clear that if we fail to do so, our business as we know it is at risk.”





3vi1 4 years ago

I was a Lotus Notes admin who followed Ozzie's work during the before-times, and I can't tell if his blog means he's a genius who's trying to make Microsoft a better software company, even at the cost of their marketshare and warchest, or if he's willfully blinded to what MS really does by the reflection off of his golden parachute.

Ozzie seems to have been to pushing Microsoft to develop in some of the same areas where they're consistently losing cash hand over fist.  Maybe he intended to fix their deficiency, or maybe he was trying to break the monopoly as a general service to mankind and the advancement of computing.  Either way, I judge his intentions to be good.

>> In the realm of the service-centric ‘seamless OS’ we’re well on the path to having Windows Live serve as an optional yet natural services complement to the Windows and Office software.

Here I begin to wonder:  Did anyone show him the quarterlies and how they've been losing billions of dollars in this area?

>> Bing has blossomed and its advertising, social, metadata & real-time analytics capabilities are growing to power every one of our myriad services offerings.

Yes.  Bing has blossomed, like a vampire draining all the blood out of Yahoo's dessicated corpse... while Google remains unscathed.  This is why Google was so incredibly smart not to "partner" with Microsoft.  Everyone that partners with Microsoft dies when MS copies their business and steals their customers.  Even those who don't partner with MS sometimes find they have been "cut off from their air supply" (Intel VP Steven McGeady quoting MS Sr. VP Paul Maritz in regards to Netscape).

>> Over the years the Windows client expanded its relevance even with the rise of low-cost netbooks.

It's very pro-MS of him not to mention that they had to spend money developing a specialized version of XP and giving it away for next to free (or completely free in the case of OLPC) to stop all of the manufacturers from pre-installing Linux and making customers comfortable with it..  He did Bill proud on that part.

>> Quite important to me, I’m also quite proud of the degree to which we’ve continued to grow and mature in the area of responsible competition

Which is why Microsoft sued 600+ competitors making Linux devices over vague patents whose numbers and details were never released so that the Linux guys can't refactor a new solution?  Okay... now he's slipping into *evil* genius territory.

>> Certain of our competitors’ products and their rapid advancement & refinement of new usage scenarios have been quite noteworthy.  Our early and clear vision notwithstanding, their execution has surpassed our own in mobile experiences, in the seamless fusion of hardware & software & services, and in social networking & myriad new forms of internet-centric social interaction.

I read that as "Apple is kicking our ass."

>> Windows may not have been the first graphical UI on a personal computer, but over time the product unquestionably democratized computing & communications for more than a billion people worldwide. 

"May"?  It wasn't even the sixth.  Sorry, but this entire part just made me laugh...  It's like someone saying "Halo may not have been the first FPS on a console... but it's the reason that FPS are so popular... not all the work that Carmack and those other guys did first."  This is just rude to the giants upon whose shoulders Microsoft stands, and prove the point that the winners do always get to write history.

>> Windows and Office truly grew to define the PC

I disagree, Ray.  That's just the perception of people that didn't use their predecessors.  I can't really believe someone with Ozzie's experience says this seriously... so I wonder if he's not manipulating his MS audience into a sense of false security.  Maybe I can drop the "evil" in front of his genius.

>> Complexity kills. Complexity sucks the life out of users, developers and IT. 

Now this is the part where I think he might be a *good* genius - pushing MS in the right direction  If MS didn't constantly use their EEE strategy to extend every protocol outside of standards, their products would be much easier to interconnect.  Of course, they'd risk losing their market if people don't develop specifically for the Windows API... but isn't making good software better to engineers than slowing innovation in the field?

Ozzie's seen and done a lot.  All in all, I think he's advanced the field - even if there's not much "obvious" results from his stint at Microsoft.  Best of luck to him.


3vi1 4 years ago

You know... I wouldn't be half surprised to see that the announcement about Ray doesn't eventually mean...


There has been a bit of press lately about how Microsoft is Dying. Ballmer can't possibly fix this on his own; on his best day he maintains the stock price.

Bill could definitely reverse that.  The question is... will he be able to use the old tactics, or will he choose the higher road - matching the great work he's been doing with his foundation lately?

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