Software // Operating Systems
04:01 PM

Ozzie Was No Wizard For Microsoft In Massachusetts

Chief software architect took over five years ago, but R&D in Bay State never quite meshed with Redmond.

After Bill Gates and Paul Allen created their first Microsoft software program in Cambridge, Mass., it’s been mostly downhill for the company’s R&D in the Bay State. The latest blow came Monday with the announcement that chief software architect Ray Ozzie would leave Microsoft.

Appointed five years ago to fill the software architecting void left by Gates’ move to chairman, Ozzie, a close friend of Gates’, was named to take Microsoft in new profitable directions and to reinvigorate the R&D facilities in Cambridge. The drive immediately took on a competitive flavor because Google was developing its own R&D operation in Kendall Square, near Microsoft’s offices in the shadow of MIT.

Almost immediately, problems surfaced for Microsoft in Cambridge. There was litigation with database provider InterSystems, which battled Microsoft over office space at One Memorial Drive.

The company’s Startup Labs operation, which had started promisingly, ran into early difficulties when its director, Reed Sturtevant, suddenly left in October 2009.Like Ozzie, Sturtevant had worked at Lotus Development Corp., which rode Ozzie’s Lotus Notes to fame and fortune. Microsoft said the Startup Labs would be combined with its Rich Media Lab, both to be run from Redmond’s MRS Creative Systems.

Lili Cheng was named to head the new operation and report to Ozzie. The bicoastal life led by Ozzie seemed to fly in the face of cohesive management, as Microsoft struggled to coordinate several operations in Massachusetts, and Ozzie reportedly couldn’t properly coordinate with rebellious units in Washington State.

At the same time, the pressure on Microsoft to develop facilities in Massachusetts was mounting. In a controversy over ODF standards precipitated by the Massachusetts state CIO, IBM and Sun Microsystems pointedly noted that Microsoft had relatively few employees and facilities in the Bay State, putting pressure on the software giant to beef up its Massachusetts operations. The controversy has faded, and so has pressure on Microsoft to create more jobs and facilities in Massachusetts.


Ray Ozzie Explains Cloud Computing For The Enterprise

Microsoft Opens Research Center In Cambridge, Mass.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Elite 100 Digital Issue, April 2015
The 27th annual ranking of the leading US users of business technology
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Listen Now IT Life Radio: Get Rid of Annual Reviews
Almost anyone who has gone through an annual review knows they can be a pain. Why should we only get feedback once per year? Kris Duggan joins us to talk about a better way for managers and employees alike that will make everyone happier and more productive.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.