Microsoft announced today that Ray Ozzie plans to step down from his position as Chief Software Architect for the company. He will stay with Microsoft to assist in a transition period, helping teams and ongoing projects before focusing on new entertainment projects for the Redmond, Wash.-based company. As Chief Software Architect, Ozzie took on some of the software visionary work of company founder Bill Gates, pushed Microsoft into its Azure cloud computing effort, and promoted Software as a Service as well as could migration.
Ozzie brought "inspiration and impact" to the company, CEO Steve Ballmer wrote in a memo published on the Microsoft Web site. Ozzie, he continued, "has 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," wrote Ballmer.
Ozzie gained fame at Iris Associates, where he led a team that created what would become the Lotus Notes platform. After IBM's 1995 acquisition of Lotus Development, he left to create Groove Networks, acquired by Microsoft in 2005, where he has been since.
In 2006 Ozzie accepted the role of Chief Software Architect, replacing the then-retiring Bill Gates. Last year, Ozzie founded FUSE (Future Social Experiences) Labs within Microsoft to focus on developing for the future social network experience.
After becoming MS Chief Software Architect, Ozzie released a memo on the topic of Internet Services Disruption that set the stage for Microsoft's Azure cloud effort.