Microsoft software chief resigns as software giant struggles in mobile

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Ray Ozzie, the Microsoft executive who replaced Bill Gates as Chief Software Architect, has stepped down from his role, as the company fights to regain lost market share in the mobile space.



Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer announced Monday that Ozzie will not need to be replaced, Reuters reports.



"We have a strong planning process, strong technical leaders in each business group and strong innovation heading to the market," Ballmer told employees in a memo.



Ozzie, who was famous for his pioneering work on Lotus Notes, became Chief Software Architect in 2006 after Gates left the position to focus on his non-profit foundation. During his tenure, Ozzie spearheaded several initiatives in cloud computing, such as the "Azure" platform, and internet services.



Some analysts questioned the legacy that he will leave behind. "I don't think this means much for the future of software development at Microsoft because he didn't leave a stamp," said Fort Pitt Capital Group analyst Kim Caughey Forrest.



Others took the news as further evidence of Microsoft's post-Gates struggles. "Ozzie leaving highlights that Microsoft has been kind of lost in the woods ever since Bill Gates left," said Morningstar analyst Toan Tran. "They let Google solve search, they let Apple figure out smartphones, and Apple is in the process of figuring out non-Windows PC devices with the iPad."



A recent filing with the SEC revealed the Microsoft Board's dissatisfaction with the company's performance in the mobile and tablet space. In Ballmer's annual performance review, he was called out for "the unsuccessful launch of the Kin phone; loss of market share in the company's mobile phone business; and the need for the company to pursue innovations to take advantage of new form factors." In particular, the high-profile Kin smartphone project, which was killed after just 48 days on the market, has been viewed as a significant failure.



Microsoft finds itself fighting an uphill battle against its rivals. Apple revealed Monday that it had sold a record 14.1 million iPhones and 4.19 million iPads in the September quarter. Google announced last week that it is receiving $1 billion in annual mobile revenue.



On Oct. 11, the Redmond, Wash., software giant unveiled its answer to the iPhone and Android in the form of its Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system. Reaction to the launch was muted, however, with several analysts predicting disappointing sales of the devices.



Ozzie's resignation comes on the heels of Microsoft's former head of the Business Division Stephen Elop. In September, Nokia announced that Elop would replace Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo as CEO. Several other prominent Microsoft executives have also left the company after Gates, including Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell and phones and games chief Robbie Bach, the report noted.



According to Ballmer, Ozzie will focus on the company's entertainment efforts during the transition, then retire. People familiar with the matter told Reuters that Ozzie's retirement would come in "a matter of months."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    mgl323mgl323 Posts: 247member
    Maybe Microsoft needs Bill Gates back in the office.
  • Reply 2 of 48
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    Ray Ozzie sure didn't make much of a dent in the tech world at Microsoft. However this news seems to deflect blame where the blame really should be. Ballmer is responsible for Microsoft's failings and the board will have to make that obvious conclusion if the Windows Phone 7 OS does not unseat iOS and Andriod as the new hip thing. Gaining or losing marketshare in the coming quarters will be telling of whether Ballmer stays or goes as there's no one else to blame but himself.
  • Reply 3 of 48
    I think Ballmer and the Boys took Huey Lewis and the news "Hip To Be Square" hit a little too much to heart.



    Sort of like your grandfather running around with a Faux Hawk, tattoos and a muscle t-shirt.
  • Reply 4 of 48
    So the Windows iphone killer is announced, and the Microsoft exec leaves.... Epic Fail.
  • Reply 5 of 48
    The funniest thing about this article is that Bill Gatse wasn't a good engineer. Paul Allen was the tech guy.



    Bill Gates was the visionary but in a different way. He was a cutthroat businessman, the closest thing to a robber baron that Silicon Valley ever had. That's why Ballmer was so effective under Gates; they both spoke the same language: business. Bill was more the biz dev guru whereas Steve was the classic salesman.



    A fabulous time for Microsoft, however Ballmer has no vision.
  • Reply 6 of 48
    realisticrealistic Posts: 1,117member
    This is just like baseball, if you don't win you replace or trade a few players, if you still don't win then you replace the manager (Ballmer). I don't think Ballmer will last another season (fiscal year) unless MS starts winning soon. Good luck with that...
  • Reply 7 of 48
    There's parallels between Microsoft now and Apple's years without Steve Jobs. Things go well for a while but when the new ideas stop coming or things are played safe, opportunities get missed.

    They missed the boat on the rise of the internet, but were lucky it indirectly grew PC/Windows sales.

    They've missed again now with the smart device revolution - but the difference is this trend won't help PC sales.
  • Reply 8 of 48
    Microsoft is being pulled behind the horse... they are soo far behind. Remember everyone complaining when the iPhone didn't have cut/copy/paste and that all the other smartphones did... well the new Windows Phone 7 wont even have that till the beginning of next year. It's like they threw together a bunch of stuff in a square box and text interface and said HERE! As old as the interface for the iPhone is beginning to get, its still far beyond that. Yes, MS's interface is different... ill give them credit for that... and probably functional. But its *Not* asthetically pleasing. It doesn't make me want to go to one of my friends and say, hey look at my phone and its cool square boxes -_-



    I'm just saying that surely they could have added a little more "coolness" to the design/interface... Take a hint from XBOX if you have to. At least its interface was/is pretty creative. It's also missing a ton of things that the iPhone and Android can do (Not to mention the existing app stores). So yeah... gl microsoft.
  • Reply 9 of 48
    asciiascii Posts: 5,813member
    In terms of software architecture they need an OS that is scalable from phone to server and is source-compatible with both big and little endian CPUs.



    Mac OS X and Linux both fit this description.



    That is what their architect needed to get them to (for today's world) and if he didn't he probably should resign. Apple has Bertrand who is a freakin' wizard.
  • Reply 10 of 48
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iPad999 View Post


    So the Windows iphone killer is announced, and the Microsoft exec leaves.... Epic Fail.



    Didn't Robbie Bach & J Allard have more to do with WP7 than Ray Ozzie? He was all about cloud computing, I thought.
  • Reply 11 of 48
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SuperDuperCheese View Post


    Microsoft needs to learn their place...Apple and Android rule the 'cool' smartphone market, they should go back to basics, and make phones for the businesses with RIM, instead of trying to make an integrated smartphone OS. WP7 is nice, but it's too little, too late



    Well, they had the basics: the Windows Mobile 6 platform was doing ok until the iPhone showed up. You think WP7 should have been more of the same?
  • Reply 12 of 48
    I really doubt Gates could make a difference at Microsoft now. He was an absolutely stunning businessman but he was no tech visionary. He was ruthless and an amazingly driven CEO, but with him, it was all about leveraging the advantage he had with MS-DOS and later with Windows and Office. As a businessman, he was way, way ahead of Jobs (or anybody else in the much simpler tech industry) in the 80's.



    Jobs observed and learned during his years in "exile" and honed his business chops through the adversities of NeXT and the success of Pixar. He needed those years before coming back to Apple when everyone already wrote Apple off as dead. No one really expected Jobs to be a "savior" or resurrect Apple from the dead. People, including myself - I admit - back in the late-90's, just thought that he'd keep Apple on life support and keep it going with a little profitable niche.



    One needs to read Gates' 'Road Ahead' written back in '95 when he had triumphed thoroughly and was sitting on top of the world. He didn't see the WWW coming. At all... In a way, Gates is responsible for the mess that Microsoft is in now. He's the one who didn't provide the vision and direction for Microsoft before he left and handed over the reins to a grunt named Ballmer. It all just became about protecting the Windows and Office franchise and cash cow.



    First it was about Netscape. Then it was about Sun and Java. Then the Sony Playstation. And then the iPod. And add Wii to another ambush. Billions and billions spent on IE, .NET, the X-Box and Zune... For what? Linux and other open source stuff like Open Office scare the hell out of them so they throw all kinds of resources at that and get distracted. Then their own tablets and Windows Mobile culminating in Kin... In the meantime, they get blindsided by Google in search and webmail, etc. and by Facebook in the social networking revolution... And now the iPhone, Android, and iPad... Oracle, SAP and IBM continue to remain very strong nemesis in the enterprise space and now even HP is aligning against them. Not looking good at all for Microsoft right now.



    Gates should just do what he's doing being a good philanthropist and protect his legacy from the 80's and the early-90's. Coming back to fix Microsoft could very easily tarnish his legendary reputation for good...
  • Reply 13 of 48
    When will Steve baloney get replaced ?
  • Reply 14 of 48
    "strong innovation heading to the market" - so they are saying they are not the innovators who leads the market. They have so poor opinion of themselves.



    "I don't think this means much for the future of software development at Microsoft because he didn't leave a stamp" & "Ozzie will not need to be replaced" - so they are saying that the position was not needed at all and that they are not going to do anything to improve things in the area.



    Their corporate culture is not one of the leader.

    Big companies become such a disappointment...

    I am afraid what is going to happen with Apple in a couple of years, especially if Jobs going to retire.
  • Reply 15 of 48
    povilaspovilas Posts: 473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Doorman. View Post


    I am afraid what is going to happen with Apple in a couple of years, especially if Jobs going to retire.



    In couple years?
  • Reply 16 of 48
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by alexkhan2000 View Post


    I really doubt Gates could make a difference at Microsoft now. He was an absolutely stunning businessman but he was no tech visionary. He was ruthless and an amazingly driven CEO, but with him, it was all about leveraging the advantage he had with MS-DOS and later with Windows and Office. As a businessman, he was way, way ahead of Jobs (or anybody else in the much simpler tech industry) in the 80's.



    Jobs observed and learned during his years in "exile" and honed his business chops through the adversities of NeXT and the success of Pixar. He needed those years before coming back to Apple when everyone already wrote Apple off as dead. No one really expected Jobs to be a "savior" or resurrect Apple from the dead. People, including myself - I admit - back in the late-90's, just thought that he'd keep Apple on life support and keep it going with a little profitable niche.



    One needs to read Gates' 'Road Ahead' written back in '95 when he had triumphed thoroughly and was sitting on top of the world. He didn't see the WWW coming. At all... In a way, Gates is responsible for the mess that Microsoft is in now. He's the one who didn't provide the vision and direction for Microsoft before he left and handed over the reins to a grunt named Ballmer. It all just became about protecting the Windows and Office franchise and cash cow.



    First it was about Netscape. Then it was about Sun and Java. Then the Sony Playstation. And then the iPod. And add Wii to another ambush. Billions and billions spent on IE, .NET, the X-Box and Zune... For what? Linux and other open source stuff like Open Office scare the hell out of them so they throw all kinds of resources at that and get distracted. Then their own tablets and Windows Mobile culminating in Kin... In the meantime, they get blindsided by Google in search and webmail, etc. and by Facebook in the social networking revolution... And now the iPhone, Android, and iPad... Oracle, SAP and IBM continue to remain very strong nemesis in the enterprise space and now even HP is aligning against them. Not looking good at all for Microsoft right now.



    Gates should just do what he's doing being a good philanthropist and protect his legacy from the 80's and the early-90's. Coming back to fix Microsoft could very easily tarnish his legendary reputation for good...



    I recall you explaining in an earlier post that your moniker is an amalgam of Alexander and Genghis Khan, and this analysis clearly proves your love of tactics and strategy, the short and long-term planning that goes into successful global campaigns.



    I agree whole-heartedly with you, but would like to add that the advantage that Bill Gates had with MS-DOS and later with Windows and Office was built standing on the shoulders of the great 800lb gorilla of the day IBM, whom Gates then cannily supplanted with a conglomeration of smaller hardware "cloners" like Compaq, HP, Gateway etc after reneging on a deal to provide software for the platform Microsoft and IBM jointly developed (OS2).



    So I would say his monumental success had more to do with being in the right place at the right time and cleverly exploiting the situation, than responding to adversity and turning near-disaster around into success. His missing the Internet phenomenon was a blunder of monumental proportions, but at least saved the entire computing world from total domination by an oligarchy. It allowed the likes of Google, FaceBook, Apache, Mozilla etc to thrive in this space and challenge successfully for mind and market share.



    Likewise, his failure to recognise the modularity and scalability of Unix as a platform on which to base the future direction of his Operating System has left his company at a distinct disadvantage in scaling up to enterprise levels with the "Big Dogs" like Oracle SAP and IBM, and down to mobility levels with the "New Kids on the Block" Apple, RIM, Android et al.



    Jobs on the other hand, and by your own admission, confounded all expectation and has before our very eyes taken a company from the brink of liquidation to unprecedented success and dominance in almost all its undertakings. Through a painful but painstakingly thorough process, the Apple OS has been dragged kicking and streaming to morph into a Unix-based (BSD) modular OS that can scale both ways, and is hence well primed for successful entry into both the enterprise and the mobile sectors in the months and years to come.



    Lively and interesting days for strategists and theorists of all persuasions (tin-foil hatters included!)
  • Reply 17 of 48
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,741member
    As long as Ballmer is at the helm nothing will change.
  • Reply 18 of 48
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    Ozzie deserves to enjoy the rest of his years, and that means not beating the same old dead Microsoft horse. In a few months, WP7 will have that familiar stink of failure, so the time to leave is now. Before the putrefaction begins in earnest.
  • Reply 19 of 48
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    @alexkhan2000 - re Gates: "He was an absolutely stunning businessman but he was no tech visionary."



    Gates built Microsoft by destroying competitors. Stunning? Yes. Brilliant? No.



    As for the "tech visionary" thing, he had half of it. All tech and no vision. Too geeky to

    comprehend what actual consumers want, too focused on leveraging existing technology

    to see where the market would be in 5 or 10 years. And why bother doing all the hard

    design work when Apple will do it for you?



    So now Microsoft is stuck with Ballmer. He's a vastly better educated "businessman" than

    Gates ever was, but "tech" and "visionary" do not apply to him at all. He's a sales guy, which

    means Microsoft will stay anchored firmly in the 20th century, along with all the

    corporate IT departments they've locked in. Looking back to the glory days of WIndows 95.
  • Reply 20 of 48
    801801 Posts: 271member
    I smell an interesting tell-all autobiography that is about to be served cold.
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