Ray Ozzie to Step Down as Microsoft Chief Software Architect

10/18/10

Microsoft’s chief software architect, Ray Ozzie, will be stepping down from the position after an undefined transitional period, according to Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer. Ballmer made the announcement via an e-mail sent out to Microsoft employees today, adding that he had no plans to fill Ozzie’s vacated position. “The CSA role was unique and I won’t refill the role after Ray’s departure,” he says in the statement.

Ozzie joined Microsoft and succeeded Bill Gates as chief software architect in 2005 when his company, Beverly, MA-based Groove Networks, was acquired for a price rumored around $200 million. In the statement, Ballmer credits Ozzie’s work over the last five years, saying that it “stimulated thinking across the company and helped catalyze our drive to the cloud.”

According to Ballmer, Ozzie will remain with Microsoft for a “natural transition time,” and will continue to work on ongoing strategic projects, and the entertainment space, where Ballmer says the company has a number of ongoing investments. He said nothing more about timing, other than “Ray will be onboard for a while.”

“Since being at Microsoft, both through inspiration and impact he’s been instrumental in our transition toward a software world now centered on services,” Ballmer says in the statement. “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.”

Thea Chard is a correspondent for Xconomy Seattle. You can e-mail her at theachard@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/theachard. Follow @

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  • http://www.xconomy.com/author/ltimmerman/ Luke Timmerman

    For those who may have missed it, Xconomy’s national IT editor Greg Huang predicted Ozzie’s departure in this exclusive feature back in December. Greg quoted a former Microsoft executive after the reorganization of the company’s Azure cloud computing division. Ozzie had just lost an internal power struggle, which meant that Ozzie’s “power and influence is gone,” the executive said. “At Microsoft, it all comes down to power politics…If you don’t have product groups working for you, what power do you have?”

    http://bit.ly/50K6MW

  • Ken

    Ray will NOT be missed at Microsoft. He will not be replaced because he didn’t do anything. He failed to lead. He failed to articulate a strategy that made sense. Three screens and a cloud of dust? Give me a break.

    Ray’s huge ego couldn’t handle being ignored by the powerful product group leaders at Microsoft.

    Ray rarely came out of his office in 5 years. No great speeches, no inspiring vision statements, no execution.

    Ray is way over rated.

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