Economy

Ozzie Leaves With Another Memo

Ray Ozzie

Microsoft's Ray Ozzie is leaving the company, and has left them with a memo outlining his vision of the future. Nick Ut/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Nick Ut/AP

Ray Ozzie is a legend in the software business. He was one of the creators of Lotus Notes. And after Bill Gates stepped down, he became the Chief Software Architect at Microsoft. When he arrived at Microsoft five years ago he wrote a hugely influential memo titled "The Internet Services Disruption" that urged Microsoft to move into the cloud. "It's clear that if we fail to do so, our business as we know it is at risk," he wrote. "We must respond quickly and decisively."

Well, a week ago it was announced that he was leaving Microsoft, and he also wrote another memo. This one titled "Dawn of a New Day." It is being read as a critique of Microsoft, albeit a gentle one, telling the company that the end of the PC, and its business model, is coming. There are some good readings of it here and here.

He outlined in his memo how the future of computing will work. And what our world may look like.

Continuous services are websites and cloud-based agents that we can rely on for more and more of what we do.  On the back end, they possess attributes enabled by our newfound world of cloud computing: They’re always-available and are capable of unbounded scale.  They’re constantly assimilating & analyzing data from both our real and online worlds.  They’re constantly being refined & improved based on what works, and what doesn’t.  By bringing us all together in new ways, they constantly reshape the social fabric underlying our society, organizations and lives.  From news & entertainment, to transportation, to commerce, to customer service, we and our businesses and governments are being transformed by this new world of services that we rely on to operate flawlessly, 7×24, behind the scenes.

Our personal and corporate data now sits within these services – and as a result we’re more and more concerned with issues of trust & privacy.  We most commonly engage and interact with these internet-based sites & services through the browser.  But increasingly, we also interact with these continuous services through apps that are loaded onto a broad variety of service-connected devices – on our desks, or in our pockets & pocketbooks.

Connected devices beyond the PC will increasingly come in a breathtaking number of shapes and sizes, tuned for a broad variety of communications, creation & consumption tasks.  Each individual will interact with a fairly good number of these connected devices on a daily basis – their phone / internet companion; their car; a shared public display in the conference room, living room, or hallway wall.

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