Microsoft Buys Talko, Another Ray Ozzie Company ( 10

alphadogg writes: Every decade or so Microsoft seems to feel the need to buy a Ray Ozzie company. This time it's Talko, a Boston-based startup dedicated to helping workgroups (or families or other sets of associates) collaborate using their smartphones. Terms were not disclosed, but in a blog post the company said Talko technology, at least part of it, will live on in Skype. If this rings a bell to long-timers it's because ten years ago Microsoft bought Groove Networks, Ozzie's then Boston-area startup geared for, yes, computer-assisted collaboration.

Former Microsoft Exec Ray Ozzie Named To HP Board 52

theodp writes "GeekWire reports that HP has named former Microsoft chief software architect Ray Ozzie to its Board of Directors. Ozzie, known for his early work on collaboration technologies including Lotus Notes, has been working on his own startup since leaving Microsoft in 2010. Ozzie recently sounded off on the NSA spygate affair, suggesting it's time to revisit the deal we made with the 9/11-privacy-devil."
The Courts

Opposition Mounts To Oracle's Attempt To Copyright Java APIs 187

An anonymous reader writes with a bit from Groklaw: "The remarkable outpouring of support for Google in the Oracle v. Google appeal continues, with a group of well-known innovators, start-ups, and those who fund them — innovators like Ray Ozzie, Tim O'Reilly, Mitch Kapor, Dan Bricklin, and Esther Dyson — standing with [Thursday's] group of leading computer scientists in telling the court that Oracle's attempt to copyright its Java APIs would be damaging to innovation." As usual, Groklaw gives a cogent, readable introduction to the issue.

Will the Desktop PC Live Forever? 625

concealment points out a rebuttal from PCWorld of the increasingly common claims that we live in a post-PC world. "It's an intriguing proposition, but don't count on mobile devices killing off your desktop PC any time soon. While mobile gear is certainly convenient when you're trying to conduct business on the go, it's nowhere near as convenient as a desktop when you're trying to complete serious work in an office environment. Sure, your phone, tablet or even laptop might conveniently fit in your pocket or backpack, but all these devices are fraught with compromises, whether it's computing power, screen size, or, well, a really expensive price tag."

'Of Course We Are In a Post-PC World,' Says Ray Ozzie 399

An anonymous reader writes "Speaking at a tech conference in Seattle this week, former Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie had some interesting things to say about the state of the computing industry. 'People argue about "are we in a post-PC world?" Why are we arguing? Of course we are in a post-PC world. That doesn't mean the PC dies, that just means that the scenarios that we use them in, we stop referring to them as PCs, we refer to them as other things.' Ozzie also thinks Microsoft's future as a company is strongly tied to Windows 8's reception. 'If Windows 8 shifts in a form that people really want to buy the product, the company will have a great future. ... It's a world of phones and pads and devices of all kinds, and our interests in general purpose computing — or desktop computing — starts to wane and people start doing the same things and more in other scenarios.'"

Gates: Not Much To Show For $5B Spent On Education 496

theodp writes "Since 2000, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has poured some $5 billion into education grants and scholarships. Ten years into his record-breaking philanthropic push for school reform, the WSJ reports that Bill Gates is sober about the investment and willing to admit some missteps. 'I applaud people for coming into this space,' said Gates, 'but unfortunately it hasn't led to significant improvements.' This understanding of just how little influence seemingly large donations can have has led the foundation to rethink its focus in recent years. Instead of trying to buy systemic reform with school-level investments, a new goal is to leverage private money in a way that redirects how public education dollars are spent. Despite the good intentions, some are expressing concerns about how billionaires and the Gates Foundation rule our schools, including the lack of transparency and spotty track record of the wealthy would-be reformers. Perhaps Gates should consider funding a skunkworks educational project for retired Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie, who was working on networked, self-paced computer assisted instruction in 1974 — 36 years before Bill and Google discovered Khan Academy!"

It's Not a New Ballmer Microsoft Needs; It's a New Gates 211

theodp writes "Over at GeekWire, Todd Bishop posits that Microsoft doesn't need to replace Steve Ballmer as much as it needs to replace Bill Gates. 'The perennial push to oust Ballmer is back,' Bishop says. 'But as long as we're all going down this path again, there's actually a larger issue to address: Microsoft no longer has an overarching technology leader next to the CEO at the top of the company – someone with a strong engineering background and technical vision, surveying the field and calling the plays. There will never be another Bill Gates. But there should be someone in his former role as chief software architect, if not in title, then at least in effect.' Ray Ozzie was supposed to be The One, but for some reason that never really worked out (Dave Winer warns BigCo politics can crush even the most innovative). Any thoughts on who might 'fill the bill'?"

Gates' Future of Education Straight Out of '60s 203

theodp writes "Bill Gates really should have talked more with ex-Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie. While Khan Academy's new self-paced exercises, coach management options, and game mechanics (merit badges/points) prompted Gates to gush to the high-rollers at Salman Khan's TED Talk that they 'just got a glimpse of the future of education,' Ozzie's seen this movie before, having written similarly-featured PLATO courseware as a student at Illinois. In the '70s. On plasma terminals. With touch screens. Fifty years ago last Friday, 27-year-old EE PhD whiz kid Don Bitzer and partner Peter Braunfeld demonstrated the nascent PLATO system to assembled dignitaries at the 'President's Faculty Conference on Improving Our Educational Aims in the Sixties.' Hey, everything old is new again! Gates is hardly the only tech luminary who don't-know-much-about-PLATO-history — CS Prof Daniel Sleator felt compelled to school the Web's founders on PLATO in '94."

Microsoft Server and Tools Head Muglia To Step Down 79

snydeq writes "Longtime Microsoft executive Bob Muglia, president of the company's server and tools business, will step down from his position later this year, according to a Steve Ballmer memo issued Monday to company employees. Muglia has been with Microsoft for 23 years, leading development efforts in Microsoft Office, Windows NT and online services businesses. More recently, Muglia shepherded Microsoft's entry into cloud computing, guiding the rollout of the company's Azure platform. Muglia's departure follows that of Ray Ozzie, whose exit was made all the more notable by a memo warning Microsoft to start thinking beyond the PC."

Ozzy Osbourne's Genome Reveals Some Neanderthal Lineage 151

ByOhTek writes "CNN reports that in July, rocker Ozzy Osbourne became one of few to submit his blood to have his full genome sequenced and analyzed. The results are in, and it turns out his genome reveals some Neanderthal lineage. What does Ozzie have to say about it? 'I was curious, given the swimming pools of booze I've guzzled over the years - not to mention all of the cocaine, morphine, sleeping pills, cough syrup, LSD, Rohypnol... there's really no plausible medical reason why I should still be alive. Maybe my DNA could say why,' he wrote."

Ray Ozzie's Departing Memo a Warning To Microsoft 345

itwbennett writes "In a parting memo to Microsoft, Ray Ozzie urges Microsoft to 'really, truly, seriously start thinking beyond the PC,' writes blogger Chris Nurney. Nurney suspects that 'Ozzie has been making these points internally for some time,' and that the memo 'could be his way of putting it in the public record.' Some of the memo's juicy bits: 'It's important that all of us do precisely what our competitors and customers will ultimately do: close our eyes and form a realistic picture of what a post-PC world might actually look like, if it were to ever truly occur. ... Today's PCs, phones & pads are just the very beginning; we'll see decades to come of incredible innovation from which will emerge all sorts of "connected companions" that we'll wear, we'll carry, we'll use on our desks & walls and the environment all around us.'"

Ray Ozzie Quit... What Took Him So Long? 224

GMGruman writes "The mainstream press acts surprised that Microsoft's chief software architect is resigning, but InfoWorld's Woody Leonhard explains through a review of Ozzie's efforts at Microsoft how the Redmond giant has consistently ignored and squandered the design savvy that Ozzie has tried to bring to the table. If you ever wondered why Microsoft's products like Windows and Office are so bloated and underwhelming, while Apple's are almost always wonderful experiences, this analysis will solve that mystery. And you too will wonder how Ozzie could have lasted so long at a company that doesn't believe in design."

Ray Ozzie To Step Down From His Role At Microsoft 229

denobug writes "Ray Ozzie, Chief Software Architect at Microsoft, is stepping down. He is to remain with Microsoft until he retires, focusing his efforts 'in the broader area of entertainment where Microsoft has many ongoing investments,' based on a memo from Steve Ballmer. Also according to Steve's memo, the role of CSA was unique and it will not be filled."
Social Networks

Where Were You When PLATO Was Born? 162

PLATO, cradle of so many firsts, was born 50 years ago. Next week the Computer History Museum is hosting a two-day conference to celebrate the anniversary. Microsoft's Ray Ozzie, who worked on PLATO as an undergraduate, will be one of the keynote speakers. Co-producer Brian Dear has put together a list of today's technology notables and what they were doing in 1973, the year that social computing suddenly blossomed on PLATO.

The Secret Origin of Windows 402

harrymcc writes "Windows has been so dominant for so long that it's easy to forget Windows 1.0 was vaporware, mocked both outside and inside of Microsoft — and that its immediate successors were considered stopgaps until OS/2 was everywhere. Tandy Trower, the product manager who finally got Windows 1.0 out the door a quarter century ago, has written a memoir of the experience. (He thought being assigned the much-maligned project was Microsoft's fiendish way of trying to get rid of him.) The story involves such still-significant figures as Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Ray Ozzie, and Nathan Myhrvold; Trower left Microsoft only in November of 2009 after 28 years with the company."

US PTO Gives Microsoft Credit For Lotus's Homework 172

theodp writes "On Tuesday, the USPTO granted Microsoft a patent for 'Email Emotiflags' despite ample evidence of a circa-1996 Lotus Notes precedent called Mood Stamps — sender-chosen emoticons that appear next to inbox messages. Among those seemingly aware of the existence of Mood Stamps is Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie, who appears to have fielded questions about the feature while at Lotus. While simply Googling for 'Email Emotiflags' would have turned up evidence of this prior art (including a Slashdot discussion), the USPTO came up empty after instead going with the more-upscale Google Scholar and patent databases for its search effort. Think we can count on Ozzie to do the right thing and give the USPTO a heads-up?"

Ray Ozzie Calls Google Wave "Anti-Web" 256

TropicalCoder writes "Ray Ozzie says that Google Wave is 'anti-Web,' by which he seems to mean that it is too complex for its own good. In the video he complains about its complexity in relation to Microsoft's Live Mesh: 'If you have something, that by its very nature is very complex, with many goals... then you need open source to have many instances of it because nobody will be able to do an independent implementation of it.' That's its weakness to Ozzie, apparently — that this complexity that can only be overcome by open source. While he heaps high praise on the Google team that came up with this, he feels that the advantage of Microsoft's approach is that ' decomposing things to be simpler, you don't need open source.' The Register's author summarizes it like this: 'In a way, this is classic Microsoft meets what is emerging as classic Google. Microsoft gives you an integrated stack but all the moving parts are anchored on a single company's vision. Google frees you to work out the bits yourself, but you must rely on your own smarts or those of your chosen tools.'"

Microsoft Seeks Patent On Brain-Based Development 173

theodp writes "With its just-published patent application for Developing Software Components Based on Brain Lateralization, Microsoft provides yet another example of just how broken the patent system is. Microsoft argues that its 'invention' of having a Program Manager act as an arbitrator/communicator between a group of right-brained software users and left-brained software developers mimics 'the way that the brain communicates between its two distinct hemispheres.' One of the 'inventors' is Ray Ozzie's Technical Strategist. If granted, the patent could be used to exclude others from making, using, or selling the 'invention' for 17 years."

Microsoft Acknowledges Open Source As a Bigger Threat Than Google 376

ruphus13 takes us to ZDNet for an analysis of comments by Microsoft's Chief Software Architect, Ray Ozzie, about how open source is "much more potentially disruptive" to Microsoft's business strategy than Google. Ozzie also spoke about the future of Microsoft's search technology, which will develop with or without Yahoo. There is a related interview at OStatic with several Microsoft employees about how they view and interact with the open source community. The head of Microsoft's global open source and Linux team is quoted saying: "The other thing I think is missing is implementation of a basic principle of economic fairness. Thousands of developers have put very hard work into building software used by millions of people and companies, yet only a fraction of these developers are rewarded financially. Currently there are perfectly good projects that have been abandoned by their developers despite being used by large corporations. Subsequently the projects fall out of use. This is unnecessary waste that would often be prevented by making it easy for companies to pay the developers directly. I think it's important to solve this so that the sustainability of open source projects is improved."
Input Devices

Why Did Touch Take 4 Decades to Catch On? 245

theodp writes "You probably saw media coverage of Bill Gates showing off touch-screen technology to his CEO play group last week. With the introduction of the iPhone and iPod Touch, touch (and multi-touch) technology — which folks like Ray Ozzie enjoyed as undergrads way back in the early '70s — has finally gone mainstream. The only question is: Why did it take four decades for its overnight success? Some suggest the expiration of significant patents filed during '70s and '80s may have had something to do with it — anything else?"

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