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Former Microsoft Exec Ray Ozzie Resurfaces at 'Cocomo' Startup

Ray Ozzie, who retired from Microsoft in 2010 after serving five years as the company's chief software architect, is spearheading a new startup company called "Cocomo."

While no information on Cocomo is available on its home page, a job advertisement suggests the company is focused on some sort of mobile communications and social networking product. According to the ad, Cocomo is seeking a software designer with experience creating user interfaces for tablet and smartphone form factors, particularly for Apple iOS and Android devices. The ad doesn't mention Windows Phone design experience.

Ozzie described Cocomo to the Boston Globe in an e-mail correspondence, but the article provides few details about the startup. Two former Microsoft employees may join the Cocomo team, the article postulates. Ozzie's non-compete contract with Microsoft ended last year, according to the Globe.

Ozzie was Microsoft's last chief software architect, having succeeded Bill Gates in that position. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced at the time of Ozzie's retirement that the chief architect position at Microsoft would be eliminated.

Before Ozzie left Microsoft, he published a memo envisioning a shift toward "a post-PC world." A world of mobile connected devices would gradually supplant PCs, he contended -- something of great concern for Microsoft, since Windows accounts for about 90 percent of the PC market and a good deal of the company's revenues. Microsoft has been trying to catch up to its rivals in the consumer mobile operating system market, but it is taking years to do so. Windows Phone 7 products were rolled out in November  2010. Plans to challenge the tablet market with Windows 8 could possibly take shape in the third quarter of this year. However, those efforts still lag far behind Android and iOS market positions.

Ozzie's memo predicted a strong role for social networks, both for individuals and businesses, with the next killer apps being capable of tapping "continuous services." He expected to see problems with the use of the cloud and privacy issues, according to the memo.

Ozzie is generally credited with having fostered Microsoft's overall cloud vision during his tenure at the company. Microsoft announced that it was "all in" the cloud in March 2010.

Microsoft bought Ozzie's company Groove Networks before he joined Microsoft in 2005. Groove, a peer-to-peer collaboration program, was later incorporated into SharePoint 2010 and renamed "Microsoft SharePoint Workspace 2010." Before Groove, Ozzie was noted for fostering the successful Lotus Notes business e-mail application. IBM bought Lotus Development Corp. in 1995 for $3.5 billion.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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