Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Ray Ozzie, who took over for Bill Gates as Microsoft’s chief software architect then quit the company in 2010, has a new communications startup in Boston called Cocomo.Ozzie joined Twitter earlier today and tweeted “What a fantastic year it was. On to the next adventure.”
Later, he emailed Boston Globe writer Scott Kirsner about the new startup.
He didn’t say what the new company is doing, except that it’s been entirely bootstrapped so far, and employs former Microsofties Matt Pope and Ransom Richardson. They’re also hiring a user interface and user experience designer.
Ozzie invented Lotus Notes, which was one of the first corporate email and collaboration apps, dating back to the 1980s. It was eventually bought by IBM where it became a flagship product.
He followed it up with Groove, a slightly puzzling peer-to-peer collaboration product. It never sold very well, but Microsoft bought Groove in 2005 for $171 million, and Bill Gates later said the main reason was to get Ozzie. The next year, Ozzie took over from Gates as Microsoft’s chief software architect.
Although he provided some guidance and vision, Ozzie never controlled a major product group at Microsoft, so his influence was limited. He stepped down in 2010, and wrote a long memo on his way out taking some shots at Windows: he used the term “post-PC world” to describe how computing was evolving, and noted that “complexity kills” in tech products.
Steve Jobs later adopted the term “post-PC” to describe why the iPad was so successful while its competitors were failing.
Kirsner reported via Google’s Don Dodge (an ex-Microsoftie) that Ozzie’s non-compete agreement with Microsoft expired at the end of 2011, which is why he waited until now to talk about Cocomo.