Microsoft's departing chief software architect Ray Ozzie has warned the company that the world is entering a post-PC era, and it must adapt more quickly or be left behind.
He told Microsoft staff that the shift beyond the PC to the cloud was inevitable, noting that the complexity of the PC market is sucking “the life out of users, developers and IT.”
“As a direct byproduct of the PC's success...the PC-centric model has accreted simply immense complexity,” he said.
He said the industry was undergoing a “wholesale reconfiguration in the way we perceive and apply technology.”
Just as the simplicity and approachability were key to the success of the PC, the combination of always-on broadband and connected devices would eventually deliver the same benefits.
“It may take quite a while to happen, but I believe that in some form or another, without doubt, it will,” he wrote.
Ozzie reiterated his call that Microsoft's future was in cloud-centric services delivered through these connected devices.
But he implied that Microsoft will have to step up its game, stating that the company has been on the back foot to its competitors in parts of the services space.
He predicted similar disruptions over the next five years, “catalyzed by the huge and inevitable shift in apps and infrastructure that's truly now just begun.”
While he said the PC ecosystem will keep growing for a long time to come, a shift towards apps and infrastructure will threaten Microsoft's traditional software cash cow.
Ozzie, who joined Microsoft in 2005, resigned suddenly last week.
He is credited with convincing the company of the importance of cloud computing, following a 2005 memo on the technology.