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Ray Ozzie leaving Microsoft gig

Ray Ozzie is leaving his post at Microsoft, company CEO Steve Ballmer said today.

In a memo to staff posted to the company’s Web site, Ballmer wrote: 

“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.”

 

Ozzie was named Bill Gates successor as chief software architect and strategist  nearly five years ago but his visibility diminished over the past year or so after the Windows Azure effort moved over to Bob Muglia. Even before that, when he was tasked with Microsoft’s mammoth cloud transition project, it was unclear how much muscle he really had within Microsoft’s famously contentious product groups when none of the group leads reported to him. Many said that structure was bound to fail.

Ozzie will stay at Microsoft during a transition–the length of which was not specified. And, “before he retires from Microsoft, Ray will be focusing his efforts in the broader area of entertainment where Microsoft has many ongoing investments,” Ballmer wrote.

Microsoft will not name a new chief software architect, Ballmer said.

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