Bill Gates Successor Quits Microsoft

Dennis Faas's picture

High-profile executive and software visionary Ray Ozzie has announced he is leaving Microsoft. It's a move that has prompted great speculation in the tech industry, including whether or not the company will remain effective in its plans for online computing.

Ray Ozzie a Key Figure of Microsoft

Ozzie was Microsoft's Chief Software Architect. That's not a precisely defined term, but one could draw conceptual parallels with the work of a traditional architect: a software architect makes the key design decisions about how software should be built and how it will operate.

Given Microsoft's line of business, it could be argued that Ozzie was one of the most important people in the company when it came to production. He had taken the role over from Bill Gates, who held the position since 2000 when he decided to put more focus into the software rather than the business side of the company.

Ozzie Helped Bridge Microsoft + Could Computing

Ozzie had previously worked for and helped organize several software firms. One of his most notable achievements includes developing Lotus Notes, somewhat of a forerunner to Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange.

During his time at Microsoft, Ozzie concentrated mainly on cloud computing: the system by which data and even applications themselves run on remote servers over the Internet, rather than on a user's physical machine.

He'd been closely involved with not only the development of cloud software, such as the Windows Azure platform, but also the construction of Microsoft datacenters, including finding more energy-efficient ways to run the facilities, which traditionally guzzle power both for the server equipment's operation and the cooling measures needed to prevent overheating.

Reason for Microsoft Departure Unknown

Why Ozzie is really leaving (in what the 54-year-old has described as a retirement) is the question puzzling the tech world.

According to a correspondent at Microsoft's "local" major newspaper who regularly covers the company, it's a culture clash: he believes Ozzie's emphasis on the importance of cloud computing didn't fit the more corporate structure of Microsoft, where other managers still believe in traditional models of hardware devices running on-board software. (Source:

But a rival theory has it that it's simply a matter of personality. The argument goes that Ozzie has done everything possible to bring Microsoft into the cloud computing age from a technical perspective and that his departure will allow other senior figures to turn his work into a business success. (Source:

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