Microsoft's Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie set to step down

Microsoft said on Monday that Ray Ozzie will step down from his role as chief software architect, and to retire from Microsoft after a transition period during which he will focus on Microsoft's entertainment technology investments.

Ozzie was responsible for looking after the company's technical strategy and product architecture. After assuming the role in June 2006, Ozzie drove key parts of the company's overall technical strategy. Ozzie originally joined Microsoft after the company acquired Groove Networks in April 2005. His original role was Chief Technical Officer.

Ozzie recently made news by announcing he was "back" on a blog posting. The former chief software architect scanned and posted artefacts of Microsoft's original Windows 1.0 press materials. Ozzie's departure is hardly surprising given Microsoft's recent transition (shuttering) of both Mesh and Live Labs. Ozzie oversaw both of these experimental projects.

 Image Credit: JD Lasica (Flickr)

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Apple announces record Q4 2010 results, best ever despite iPad sales

Next Story

Steve Jobs tears into Android on Apple's earnings call

22 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I think people are reading into this a little much:

His projects are over or released (Windows 7, Mesh, Labs, etc.) and WP7 is released. He's old enough to retire and probably just feels he doesn't have (or doesn't want to give) another 5-10 years to the company for the next big project to be completed and rolled out.

This is bigger news than Apple's earning reports. The software boss stepping down for undisclosed reasons. These sort of news use to be followed by leaks speaking up on why it happened though, so we may not have to wait long to have our curiosity satisfied.

I didn't see this coming - maybe Gates will step back into the role lol - obviously that's not going to happen...I wonder who will fill his role if any.

Mesh is still around and fine integrated in to the more cohesive product set with Live Sync where it should of been in the first place. I hardly think one of the Windows brain childs, a man Microsoft bought out an entire company just to get, is leaving his role as chief software architect because of a failed experiment. Such a suggestion is just silly. This is the man who took over Gates' role!

If anything I would suggest that this is more to do with the internal tensions he's been known to create over the companies overall technical direction and the impact this has on the individual business units. Either that or the fact that he's approaching 60 and a very rich man with 2 children.

ascendant123 said,
Mesh is still around and fine integrated in to the more cohesive product set with Live Sync where it should of been in the first place. I hardly think one of the Windows brain childs, a man Microsoft bought out an entire company just to get, is leaving his role as chief software architect because of a failed experiment. Such a suggestion is just silly. This is the man who took over Gates' role!

If anything I would suggest that this is more to do with the internal tensions he's been known to create over the companies overall technical direction and the impact this has on the individual business units. Either that or the fact that he's approaching 60 and a very rich man with 2 children.


I agree, also of note is that he was one of the guys appreciated by Gates himself as a Windows pioneer.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Pioneers

wow things spread pretty quick. just saw the mail like abt 10 mins back. not sure what this means for MS though BillG wont come back. so i guess division bosses ftw. the problem with that though is where are groundbreaking new products going to come from ? MS research ?

ZenVenT said,
It seems like the more people that step down/leave microsoft, the better their products get.
Less people to get in the way, I guess.

ZenVenT said,
It seems like the more people that step down/leave microsoft, the better their products get.

what a nonsense! Are you saying that Ozzie was irrelevant in production of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2?!

People step down all the time, it doesn't necessarily mean better outcome.

Username.ToString(); said,

what a nonsense! Are you saying that Ozzie was irrelevant in production of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2?!

People step down all the time, it doesn't necessarily mean better outcome.

I didnt say i didnt like Ozzie, i thought he was a good replacement for Gates. I was merely pointing out that over the years MS's products have gotten better- and a lot of their higher ups have left.

billyea said,
Microsoft needs new blood, and it's getting that with every new hire.

Microsoft needs more leading role people that think more like Gates did, than Ballmer does. This has been the main divide in the company for a long time. Profit and business are fine, but putting technology in people's hands in more important (which is where gates approached things). In the end good R&D and getting the technology out of R&D and supporting it when it isn't making massive cash is a better strategy of Ballmer's that is basically do it for the money, and cut it when it doesn't make the numbers initially. When you have R&D working on technologies 5 to 10 years out, you need to be ready to act when the 5 to 10s passes or a least keep the products supported until the price point of the 5 to 10 years allows it to drop into consumer hands.

Username.ToString(); said,

what a nonsense! Are you saying that Ozzie was irrelevant in production of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2?!

People step down all the time, it doesn't necessarily mean better outcome.


This. But also the inverse is true, it doesn't necessarily mean worse outcome too. Basically this happens all the time and there'll always be someone just as good to replace his role.

jeez, didn't see this coming.

I have watched his PDC09 speech and he seemed very energetic and visionary, thought he was kind of like Bill Gates in his looks.

It's sad he will step down, no?

FMH said,
Who is going to replace him and what company is he joining now?

He won't be replaced by anyone, apparently his position will be left blank.

And no word on his future job, but some people speculate he might join Google as his cloud vision fits in with Google.