Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's Chief Software Architect, has become increasingly notorious for his invisibility on the Web 2.0 conference circuit. If the Microsoft Mix '08 Web site is any indication, Ozzie sightings are going to become even scarcer in the new year.
Unless Ozzie is a last-minute addition to the Microsoft Mix '08 keynote line-up, he won't be one of the main speakers at Microsoft's biggest Web conference of the year.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Developer Division General Manager Scott Guthrie and Managing Director of Garage Technology Ventures Guy Kawasaki are all on the keynote list for Mix '08. But Ozzie is nowhere to be seen on the preliminary line-up.
Ozzie's two big public appearances of 2007 were Mix '07 and the Microsoft Financial Analyst Meeting. That was it.
Microsoft's explanation, whenever anyone asks about Ozzie's whereabouts, is he is busy helping the company figure out its Web strategy. (Ozzie never responds directly himself.)
I realize some companies use executive scarcity to help create demand and mystique. (Textbook example: Former IBM CEO Lou Gerstner.) But isn't Web 2.0 all about collaboration, networking, blogging? Isn't Ozzie supposed to be filling Chairman Bill Gates' Chief Software Architect shoes by serving as Microsoft's public face to the tech world?
Is there anything to be read into Ozzie's disappearing act? What's your take?