Microsoft’s Ray Ozzie Calls it Quits

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Microsoft’s chief software architect, Ray Ozzie, is leaving the company although he hasn’t announced exactly when his last day will be. CEO Steve Ballmer broke the news in a memo to employees posted on the company Web site.

Mr. Ozzie was instrumental in pushing Microsoft into cloud-based services on the Internet. Mr. Ballmer said he “helped catalyze our drive to the cloud.”

Microsoft’s Ray Ozzie

Mr. Ozzie will help with the transition as he moves on, and he’ll spend some time “focusing his efforts in the broader area of entertainment where Microsoft has many ongoing investments.”

He joined the company in 2005 as chief technical officer following Microsoft’s purchase of Groove Networks where he was working at the time.

Just who will fill Mr. Ozzie’s shoes once he leaves is a bit of a surprise: no one. “I won’t refill the role after Ray’s departure,” Mr. Ballmer said.

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7 Comments Leave Your Own


The headline should read “When Ozzie left Harriet.”

Ballmer’s heading MSFT into the toilet.

Ross Edwards

Intriguing brain-drain going on at Microsoft lately.  Granted, a company that big is going to have some turnover even at high levels.  Apple is no exception, though it has been pretty quiet when it happens.  But the Ozzie announcement comes on the heels of last month’s departure of Michael Erisman, another long-tenured Microsoft executive VP, who has taken up a leadership position at Parallels (yes, THAT Parallels).

Both Ozzie and Erisman appear to have departed MS on positive terms, and we can certainly wish good luck to both.  Even so, losing that kind of talent to competitors definitely changes the outlook on Microsoft’s thinkpool.  Has Apple ever lost two upper-tier fixtures within weeks of one another?


Well, Ballmer has seen off nearly all of his senior lieutenants and rivals.  Now, the fate and performance of Microsoft is so completely in his hands that, if Microsoft doesn’t in a reasonable amount of time at least become a viable competitor in smartphones, a viable competitor in table computers, stem the iPhone and the iPad’s advance into the enterprise, and halt the Mac’s resurgence, it will be Microsoft’s Board that will be announcing Mr. Ballmer’s departure from Microsoft so that he can probably spend more time with his family.


it will be Microsoft?s Board that will be announcing Mr. Ballmer?s departure from Microsoft so that he can probably spend more time with his family.

Oh yeah, like THEY want him hanging around the house.

other side

it will be Microsoft?s Board that will be announcing Mr. Ballmer?s departure from Microsoft so that he can probably spend more time with his family.

Microsoft’s entire board also needs to dismiss itself, for allowing things to come remotely close to this point.


Ray Ozzie sure didn’t make much of a dent in the tech world at Microsoft. However this news seems to deflect blame where the blame really should be. Ballmer is responsible for Microsoft’s failings and the board will have to make that obvious conclusion if the Windows Phone 7 OS does not unseat iOS and Andriod as the new hip thing. Gaining or losing marketshare in the coming quarters will be telling of whether Ballmer stays or goes as there’s no one else to blame but himself.


Although, to be fair, it’s not like Ballmer has overseen the destruction of Microsoft to this point. Microsoft has still made a lot of money, and it has made a point to make sure Android isn’t really free. Given the low-ish penetration of smartphones in general, there’s a lot of room for a MS mobile OS to gain some permanent traction, though probably not at Apple’s expense.

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