Ozzie urges Microsoft to simplify, move to cloud

'Doomsday-ish' clarion call implores Microsoft to further embrace cloud computing or face irrelevancy

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Departing Microsoft Corp. executive Ray Ozzie is leaving behind a new five-year plan that exhorts the company to push further into the cloud -- or perish.

The so-called Dawn of a New Day memorandum written by Ozzie, who succeeded Bill Gates as Microsoft's chief software architect in 2006, urges the company to imagine a world where the PC is replaced by a slew of simple, low-cost devices that are constantly connected to the Internet and through that to cloud-based services.

The memo was posted on Ozzie's personal blog site shortly after Microsoft's Oct. 18 announcement that the creator of Lotus Notes planned to retire soon.

Wes Miller, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft and a former Microsoft product manager, noted that Ozzie's "doomsday-ish" missive "rarely mentions the words PC or Windows. The words that are most prominent are devices and services. That shows that Ozzie believes the future will revolve around connected devices and continuous services."

The communique is in many ways reminiscent of one Ozzie wrote in 2005 warning officials that the company had to quickly jump into the cloud.

"Ray has become synonymous with connected collaboration and the cloud," Miller said, noting that Ozzie oversaw development of the Azure cloud platform that Microsoft released earlier this year. "He's fought the valiant fight at Microsoft, but he's saying the company needs to continue investing in the cloud."

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