Ray Ozzie to Step Down as Microsoft Chief Software Architect

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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