Microsoft's Ray Ozzie To Step Down As Chief Software Architect

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Microsoft has just announced that Ray Ozzie, the company’s Chief Software Architect is stepping down from this position. The full letter CEO Steve Ballmer sent to employees is pasted below.

Ozzie assumed the chief software architect’s role in June 2006. In his role, Ozzie was responsible for oversight of the company’s technical strategy and product architecture. Prior to this role, Ozzie was chief technical officer from April 2005 to June 2006. He assumed that position in April 2005 after Microsoft acquired Groove Networks, a next-generation collaboration software company he formed in 1997.

In the note, Ballmer writes that Ozzie will remain at Microsoft until he retires (it’s unclear when that will be). Ballmer notes that Ozzie’s role as CSA role was unique and he will not be filling the position at this time.

Ozzie has been Microsoft’s cloud evangelist of sorts over the pas few years.

From: Steveb
Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2010
To: Microsoft – All Employees
Subject: Ray Ozzie Transition

This past March marked a significant milestone for the company when, in a speech at the University of Washington, I sent a message to the world that we’re ‘all in’ when it comes to the cloud. In that speech I noted that Ray’s Internet Services Disruption memo nearly five years ago, and his work since, stimulated thinking across the company and helped catalyze our drive to the cloud.

As a company, we’ve accomplished much in the past five years as we look at the cloud and services. Windows Live now serves as a natural web-based services complement to both Windows and Office. SharePoint and Exchange have now decidedly embraced the cloud. And by conceiving, incubating and shepherding Windows Azure, Ray helped ensure we have a tremendously rich platform foundation that will enable app-level innovation across the company and by customers for years to come.

With our progress in services and the cloud now full speed ahead in all aspects of our business, Ray and I are announcing today Ray’s intention to step down from his role as chief software architect. He will remain with the company as he transitions the teams and ongoing strategic projects within his organization – bringing the great innovations and great innovators he’s assembled into the groups driving our business. Following the natural transition time with his teams but before he retires from Microsoft, Ray will be focusing his efforts in the broader area of entertainment where Microsoft has many ongoing investments. We have tremendous opportunities in the entertainment space overall, and I’m excited about what we can accomplish. Beyond that, Ray has no plans at this time. While he’ll continue to report to me during the transition, the CSA role was unique and I won’t refill the role after Ray’s departure. We have a strong planning process, strong technical leaders in each business group and strong innovation heading to the market.

While Ray will be onboard for a while, I’d like to thank him today for his contributions to Microsoft, both as a leader and as a long-time Microsoft ISV. As an early ISV, Ray contributed significantly to the early success of Windows. Since being at Microsoft, both through inspiration and impact he’s been instrumental in our transition toward a software world now centered on services. 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.

Please join me in thanking Ray and wishing him well.

Steve

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