Ozzie To Microsoft: Start Preparing For A "Post-PC World"


Legendary software developer and outgoing Microsoft executive Ray Ozzie has some parting advice for the software giant: start thinking outside the box -- i.e., the PC -- or risk becoming obsolete in the next five years.

Ozzie, who announced he was leaving Microsoft last week after five years with the company, penned a memo titled "Dawn of a New Day" that outlines Microsoft recent achievements but focuses more on the company's challenges going forward.

Ozzie is one of many Microsoft executives that have left the company since the launch of Microsoft's much maligned Windows Vista.

Ozzie begins the memo, curiously dated Oct. 28, by commending Microsoft for moving more toward Internet-based services, a goal he outlined in another famous memo titled "The Internet Services Disruption" when he joined Microsoft in 2005.

"Our products are now more relevant than ever. Bing has blossomed and its advertising, social, metadata & real-time analytics capabilities are growing to power every one of our myriad services offerings," Ozzie wrote in "Dawn of a New Day." "Over the years the Windows client expanded its relevance even with the rise of low-cost netbooks. Office expanded its relevance even with a shift toward open data formats & web-based productivity. Our server assets have had greater relevance even with a marked shift toward virtualization & cloud computing."

But Ozzie goes on to write that despite some progress, some key opportunities for Microsoft "remain elusive and have yet to be realized" and states that "[competitors'] execution has surpassed our own in mobile experiences, in the seamless fusion of hardware & software & services, and in social networking & myriad new forms of internet-centric social interaction."

The real challenge for Microsoft, Ozzie wrote, will be to not only prepare for but to also embrace a "post-PC world" where the old of computing being tied to a box becomes extinct. "For the most part, we've grown to perceive of 'computing' as being equated with specific familiar 'artifacts' such as the 'computer', the 'program' that's installed on a computer, and the 'files' that are stored on that computer's 'desktop'," Ozzie wrote in the memo. "For the majority of users, the PC is largely indistinguishable even from the 'browser' or 'internet'."

 

NEXT: Ozzie's Vision of Microsoft's Future