It's not surprising that Ray Ozzie has risen to the fore at Microsoft. Ozzie has an instinct for knowing where personal computing is headed. The proof is that he keeps showing up at the front of the pack.
Back when the makers of VisiCalc and WordPerfect dragged their feet on new applications to run on Windows 3.0, it was Ozzie and Lotus that pushed Windows to the limit of what it could do. The result: the Lotus Notes messaging platform.
Ozzie left Lotus after IBM bought it in 1995 and later founded Groove Networks, looking to allow better collaboration and teamwork over the network. A sign of his reputation and leadership, he recruited people without telling them the product they'd build. "He has a clear vision of the future that actually comes to fruition," says Peter O'Kelly, Groove's 15th employee, who's now with the tech consultancy Burton Group.
At Microsoft, Ozzie quickly emerged as the leading voice that Microsoft software, and the company itself, needs to become more Net centric. Once again, he's where the action is. With Ozzie as chief software architect, expect Microsoft to start a massive swing toward software delivered as a service.
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