Ray Ozzie, Microsoft’s chief software architect and prime advocate of cloud computing, has resigned suddenly.
Announcing his departure, CEO Steve Ballmer said Ozzie will work with Microsoft’s entertainment group until he retires, but did not give a specific reason for the resignation.
Ballmer credited Ozzie’s Internet Services Disruption memo in 2006 for driving the desktop focused Microsoft towards the cloud.
“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,” Ballmer said.
Ozzie joined the firm as CTO when Microsoft acquired his startup Groove Networks in 2005, and became head of software after Bill Gates retired. Microsoft won’t be appointing a replacement.
He won a reputation in Silicon Valley during the early desktop apps era in the ‘80s, creating Lotus Notes collaboration software.
“It was sad to see Ray leave. His original vision and what Microsoft delivered were becoming more disparate by the day,” said Ray Wang of Altimeter Group, quoted in ReadWriteWeb. “His efforts will be best known for getting Microsoft to back Azure and move to the cloud.”
Ozzie’s departure is the third in a string of senior exits from Microsoft. Stephen Elop, the head of enterprise group, departed in September to head up Nokia, and entertainment and devices chief Robbie Bach is also about to retire.
Microsoft shares dropped 2.32% in after-hours trading following the news.