Microsoft’s ‘chief software architect’ Ray Ozzie jumps ship

Apple Online Store“Microsoft’s announcement that Ray Ozzie is headed out the door. Bill’s designated second hitter in the software design department, Ray has been a driving force — arguably the driving force — in Microsoft’s long, labored march to the cloud,” Woody Leonhard reports for InfoWorld.

“Looked at from the outside, Ray’s departure might appear sudden or unexpected. But those of us who have watched his frustration build over the years can’t help but wonder what took him this long,” Leonhard reports. “I wrote yesterday about the role of the designer at Apple, and how the veneration afforded designers — who sit on the right hand of Steve — may well be the primary force driving Apple’s ongoing success. Now comes word that Microsoft’s head designer Ray Ozzie — officially Chief Software Architect, de facto the highest level designer in the company, with a purview outside the tired Windows/Office megalith — has decided to take a break.”

MacDailyNews Take: Somebody finally fixed one enough to get it to boot up and Ozzie saw the writing on the Big Ass Table?

Leonhard reports, “Ozzie’s biggest contribution to Microsoft’s future direction has to be the October 28, 2006, memo titled The Internet Services Disruption. An insightful blueprint for the future, Microsoft stood up, took notice, but hasn’t followed through very well.”

“He took on several new projects at Microsoft, but the most visible was Azure. In 2008, at the Professional Developer’s Conference, he described Azure as a cloud-based operating system complete with its own Application Programming Interface. A year later, Azure was a tiny shadow of its former self,” Leonhard reports. “At the end of December 2009, Microsoft went through another re-org, pulling the Azure project out from under Ozzie’s purview. A product called Azure has been released, but the feature set doesn’t even begin to match the lofty initial design.”

“Then there’s the personality thing. Ozzie is anything but a Ballmer toadie. I was — and still am — amazed at the difference in perception and vision displayed at the D8 conference in June. Watch the full interview and you’ll see: Ozzie “gets’ the cloud, no question. Ballmer’s grasp leaves something to be desired. (Ozzie’s correcting Ballmer on-stage rates as a nonpareil Career Limiting Move, even at his level, but I digress,)” Leonhard reports. “Ozzie isn’t the only frustrated genius at Microsoft. The Redmond campus is packed with ’em. But his departure marks a real turning point in Microsoft’s devolution, er, evolution.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully this means that Ballmer is consolidating his power in order to remain ensconced atop the dysfunctional Redmond waste heap for as long as it takes. We like his strategy. We like it a lot.

54 Comments

  1. “Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is also selling off in pre-market trading, with its shares close to the $25 level or 2% below Monday’s close. Microsoft sell-off materialized yesterday after the bell, as the company announced that Ray Ozzie, the software visionary who was hired to lead Microsoft’s attempt to overhaul its business for the internet era, including cloud computing is to leave the company.”

    Apple still getting spanked as well because of lower than expected iPad sales and slimmer margins.

  2. “Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is also selling off in pre-market trading, with its shares close to the $25 level or 2% below Monday’s close. Microsoft sell-off materialized yesterday after the bell, as the company announced that Ray Ozzie, the software visionary who was hired to lead Microsoft’s attempt to overhaul its business for the internet era, including cloud computing is to leave the company.”

    Apple still getting spanked as well because of lower than expected iPad sales and slimmer margins.

  3. Chief Software Architect, heh. The problem was he was never able to streamline the organization. Windows is definitely a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. Undoubtedly there are many smart people working at Microsoft, however the massive bureaucracy that is that company will never allow them to shine.

    Go back to that article: “Steve Jobs will never allow more than 100 people on the Macintosh team.” If Ozzie had managed to cut the fat of the Windows team, then it might be an OS to be reckoned with and not the but of a million jokes.

  4. Chief Software Architect, heh. The problem was he was never able to streamline the organization. Windows is definitely a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. Undoubtedly there are many smart people working at Microsoft, however the massive bureaucracy that is that company will never allow them to shine.

    Go back to that article: “Steve Jobs will never allow more than 100 people on the Macintosh team.” If Ozzie had managed to cut the fat of the Windows team, then it might be an OS to be reckoned with and not the but of a million jokes.

  5. With Ozzie leaving Microsoft I would expect that the real talent at Microsoft will see it as the final sign that it’s time they escaped as well. Microsoft will soon reflect it’s CEO, With just 2nd and 3rd rate programers, designers and even more micromanaging managers just looking to cover their own butts. Expect the quality of Microsoft software to plunge even further down the quality scale in both design and actual usability.

  6. With Ozzie leaving Microsoft I would expect that the real talent at Microsoft will see it as the final sign that it’s time they escaped as well. Microsoft will soon reflect it’s CEO, With just 2nd and 3rd rate programers, designers and even more micromanaging managers just looking to cover their own butts. Expect the quality of Microsoft software to plunge even further down the quality scale in both design and actual usability.

  7. Last night’s headline: “Gate’s successor resigns at Microsft.” I was deeply saddened to think they meant Ballmer. The relief felt seeing Ozzie’s name is from knowing our beloved monkey boy remains the captain of their sinking ship.

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