Departing Ray Ozzie Wants Microsoft To Look Beyond The PC

Ray Ozzie, the guy Microsoft recruited as Chief Software Architect and a Silicon Valley legend who helped nurture the first Spreadsheet and Lotus Notes, has left a memo posted on its own personal blog as he prepares to leave the software company that brought him in five years ago.

The memorandum, which some coined a "doomsday" note warns Microsoft and its employees about its very survival as the world moves past the personal computer and into the Post-PC days.

Ozzie replaced Bill Gates as the company's Chief Software Architect and has been pivotal to the gradual shift from a desktop, PC-centric, monolithic approach, to one which, in its own words, relies on devices that "are relatively simple and fundamentally appliance-like by design, from birth. They're instantly usable, interchangeable, and trivially replaceable without loss."

He also warns about the dangers of getting addicted to complexity, an inherent feature of the PC-centric / Server-centric model that has served Microsoft (and others so well); complexity is addictive because "complexity of a successful product also tends to provide some assurance of its longevity".

Ultimately, Microsoft should, he adds, "fearlessly embracing that which is technologically inevitable", a tectonic shift that will sooner or later make most of Microsoft's traditional business segments obsolete.