Just days after he started blogging again, Ray Ozzie has announced plans to retire from Microsoft.
Ozzie is stepping down as Chief Software Architect, as Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced in an e-mail to employees on October 18. Ozzie will remain with the company for some undisclosed period of time to handle his teams' transitions. He also will be "focusing his efforts in the broader area of entertainment, where Microsoft has many ongoing investments," according to Ballmer's mail.
Ballmer said he will not be appointing another Chief Software Architect. There's no word on what Ozzie's plans are following his Microsoft departure.
Ozzie joined Microsoft in 2005 and penned one of the most forward-looking memos in the company's history (his "Internet Services Disruption" memo.) After that, he went quiet and made very few public appearances.
He championed Microsoft's Live Mesh and FUSE Labs/Docs.com projects and also helped create the team that developed Windows Azure.
When I wrote my Microsoft 2.0 book in 2007, I questioned whether Ozzie was the right guy to fill Bill Gates' Chief Software Architect's shoes. I thought he'd end up as a researcher at Microsoft or in some other role. But I didn't expect him to leave completely so soon...
Update: In December 2009, Strategic News Service analyst Mark Anderson predicted Ozzie would leave Microsoft in the near-term.