The man Bill Gates hand-picked to replace him as chief software architect has decided to leave Microsoft. Ray Ozzie plans to “retire” from the software giant four years after his appointment, according to an email CEO Steve Ballmer sent to all Microsoft employees Monday. Datamation reports that Ozzie will stay on for a bit longer to smoothly transition his responsibilities, and will also work with the company’s entertainment business before his departure.
“Following the natural transition time with his teams, but before he retires from Microsoft, Ray will be focusing his efforts in the broader area of entertainment where Microsoft has many ongoing investments,” said Ballmer.
His reasons for leaving are unknown, but some speculate tension with Ballmer may have something to do with it.
Ozzie was the inventor of Lotus Notes in the 1980s, and made quite a splash at Microsoft when he penned a memo urging Microsoft to join the cloud computing movement or risk its future. In the five years since, Microsoft has focused significant resources on cloud services and relaunched its Internet search engine, now called Bing. For the past two years, Ozzie has been responsible for “short and mid-term technology and product strategy” at Microsoft, a duty that Bill Gates filled until 2008. Gates remains chairman of the board, but dedicates most of his time to his Gates Foundation.
While the future of Microsoft isn’t in jeopardy, Steve Ballmer’s influence will undoubtedly grow within the company. No replacement has been announced.