Ray Ozzie’s first public comments on Microsoft, after stepping down from the company abruptly in 2010, were melancholic – foreboding of a time where the company would be quickly declining in relevancy under its current business model.
“People argue about ‘are we in a post-PC world?’. Why are we arguing? Of course we are in a post-PC world,” Mr. Ozzie said at the GeekWire conference in Seattle on Wednesday. “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.”
While Microsoft has been working vigorously to expand into non PC markets, such as cloud computing, the PC market still comprises the majority of its revenue and is a barometer to the health of the company.
Mr. Ozzie was handpicked by Bill Gates in 2006 to be Microsoft’s chief software architect. While at Microsoft his signature project was Azure, the company’s foray into cloud computing.
According to Mr. Ozzie, the future of Microsoft lies with Windows 8 – the hardware agnostic OS that the company hopes to have out by the fall if not the summer.
“If Windows 8 shifts in a form that people really want to buy the product, the company will have a great future,” said Mr. Ozzie to conference attendees. “In any industry, if people look at their own needs, and look at the products and say, ‘I understand why I had it then, and I want something different’, they will not have as good a future. It’s too soon to tell.”
“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,” remarked Mr. Ozzie.
Mr. Ozzie is adamant that the end of Microsoft will be a mass exodus to portable, non –Windows devices; its savior would be injecting the Windows ecosystem into this burgeoning market.
Hopefully the OS has the messianic qualities to complete this task.