Ray Ozzy is stepping down the Chief Software Architect role at Microsoft.
He’s going to leave Microsoft in the short future.
Steve Balmer isn’t naming a new Chief Software Architect for the moment.
Since Bill Gates left Microsoft, the company has been running from one re-org to the other. For instance, earlier in October 2010, two new divisions were created with a new president each. In the recent months, quite a few president and vice-president have been leave the corporation. For instance, Stephen Elop, formally MS Business Division’s president left for Nokia on September 2010.
It seems it is becoming increasingly challenging to navigate such a big enterprise as Microsoft has become. Some think Microsoft is engaged in a down spiral, some think it is a necessary transformation. I tend to be in the second camp.
The market has changed dramatically since the 1990’s. Players have changed a lot. In the early 2000’s, we talked about Sun, BAE, Borland, Lycos, etc. . Google was a tiny player. Facebook, Twitter & YouTube (later acquired by Google) didn’t exist. The internet wave is quite disruptive. Actually, I find it impressive for Microsoft to stay relevant after so long.
I still find that Microsoft is bringing a lot of good technologies on the table. Windows Azure has a very bright potential, SharePoint is a leader in the collaboration portal space, the .NET eco-system (including Visual Studio, TFS, Windows Server App Fabric, Silverlight, etc. ) really is top notch, their multi-core concurrency Fx & tools really hit the target, Xbox Kinect is sold-out on pre-orders, Windows Phone 7 seems poised to be a good iPhone / Blackberry competitor, etc. .
Of course for all those positives, you can find a nice list of flops (let’s just mention the three months fad Kin), but as long as they can re-invent themselves, they will strive.
I still wonder what happened with Ray Ozzie. Filling the shoes of founder Bill Gates might have been too big an order. He did bring the whole Software + Service paradigm shift inside the company, championed Live Mesh & pushed for Windows Azure. In the mean time, his Groove got on the ice, looking more and more like a SharePoint client. It seems like he phased out the minute took the role couple of years ago. The man had plenty of vision and intellect. Apparently it’s quite hard to push that through at the moment.
Does Microsoft needs a super star at its head in order to work, like Apple’s Steve Jobs? I don’t think so. They have quite a battalion of smart leaders. The company is still learning to find its balance but it doesn’t lack smart people. If the leadership manage to get all that intellect to work towards common goal, they won’t need a messiah at their head!
In the mean time, you can follow Ray Ozzie on his new blog.
Thanks to Mary-Jo Foley for spreading the news.