Ray Ozzie, who joined Microsoft in 2005 as part of Microsoft's acquisition of Groove and succeeded Bill Gates as Chief Software Architect in 2008, is shortly to leave it.
News of Ozzie's imminent departure was communicated to Microsoft staff in an e-mail on 18 October from Steve Balmer which gave no indication of the reason. It did however refer to a transitional period in which Ozzie would both hand over his work and continue with his "entertainment strategy" projects. This could include rounding out consumer cloud services tied to the PC, the Xbox 360 game console and other devices.
Steve Balmer's email also made clear he had no plans to replace Ray Ozzie.
Prior to joining Microsoft, Ray Ozzie, now 54, was best known as the creator of Lotus Notes, a product he actually devised after leaving Lotus Development in 1984.
He later formed Groove Networks and created Groove Office, a document collaboration application. When Microsoft acquired Groove in 2005 the move seemed equally motivated for acquiring Ray Ozzie himself, wanted for his ability to steer the company towards building online business software services. Microsoft Groove Office is now Microsoft Office SharePoint Workspace and has lost its original identity.
It is unclear what Ray Ozzie intends to do next and why he is about to leave Microsoft. It cannot, however, be good news for Microsoft which has recently lost its business group head Stephen Elop, now chief executive at Nokia, and Robbie Bach, the head of entertainment and devices, who retired.