Ray Ozzie Is Fully Clothed

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 05-01-2007
LAS VEGAS—Ray Ozzie has on a black suit and a light blue oxford button-down shirt, no tie. I saw it … with my own eyes.

I say this because I've begun to hear more and more of my friends and colleagues murmur about Ray Ozzie being the emperor with no clothes. This industry certainly has a few of those in prominent positions, but I don't believe Ray Ozzie is one of them.

After the initial buzz over Ozzie being hired at Microsoft and later assuming the role of chief software architect, a slot inherited from Microsoft Chairman and co-founder Bill Gates, it didn't take long for the chatter to start. Is there any there there? He is a one-hit wonder. Groove was a failure. What's he going to do about Google? What is Microsoft's services strategy? He's always talking over our heads. How long do you think he's going to last? What has he even done lately? How come he never talks to us?

It didn't help that when Ozzie did come out and speak to an audience, such as at the Microsoft Financial Analyst Meeting last July, many folks said they had no idea what he was talking about.

He did come off a little highfalutin in that talk. But he was addressing folks in charge of influencing the movement of tons of money.

At Mix 07, Microsoft pulls together an impressive mix-and-match of tools for Web developers. Click here to read more.

Take a look at these comments from his FAM '06 speech to financial analysts: "And finally, even though there's some level of entropy in any fundamental technology and market share, there are some very solid metrics that we can and will use to measure our progress and to intelligently manage our investments.

"Some years from now, as you look back on this time, this time I've referred to as being a services transformation, I think you'll view it as the beginning of a period where your view of software and servers and services became enmeshed and intertwined. And when you do look back on this era, I'm confident that you'll see that Microsoft was taking a leadership role in advancing the industry into this new era."

Huh?

But then Ozzie showed that he was fully dressed when he came out and addressed a crowd of developers and designers at the Microsoft Mix 07 event here on April 30. Ozzie deftly shed more light on the Microsoft software-plus-services strategy.

Contrast that FAM talk with Ozzie's keynote at Mix 07: "The third part I would like to discuss today relates to the area of services innovation at Microsoft," Ozzie said. "As some of you may be aware, over the past couple of years, there's been a progressive sea change going on within Microsoft, a transformation toward services, and toward software plus services. Some of these changes have been readily apparent on the Web. For example, we fundamentally refactored some of our MSN services into Windows Live Services: identity, contact, Spaces, mail and messaging. Services that are now in active use by more than a quarter of a billion people. These services are now composable and syndicatable, and they're now woven into a number of other Microsoft properties, such as Office Live, which offers its users Windows Live Mail, and Xbox Live which supports instant messaging across the Xbox 360 game console and the PC."

Read the full story on eWEEK.com: Ray Ozzie Is Fully Clothed