Can Ray Ozzie Save the House that Bill Built? That’s the question that Wired are asking in their new issue, which can be found here.
I think he can and, perhaps more importantly, I think Microsoft was very close to actually needing to be saved. I’ve been a fan of the Redmond giant for a good few years, always defending them against (mostly) unfounded criticism but in the run up to, and the fall out from, Vista- I started to wonder if we were witnessing the beginning…not of the end but perhaps of the stunting of growth and the start of stagnation. I was less interested in what Microsoft was doing, less annoyed when people furthered the lies and mis-conceptions, less pro-active in promoting them and their products which wasn’t good, as I’m the MS Evangelist internally for my company!
Then I went to the Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston (July 2008) and things were different. The keynotes were energetic, more web 2.0ish (without seeming contrived), more exciting. The speakers and the content made me believe in Microsoft again, made me believe that Microsoft could help my business, that Microsoft were still innovative, that Microsoft were looking ahead, that Microsoft could still excite me-personally & professionally, that good things were going to come.
Software+Services was a key theme of this year’s WPC and was the icing on the “get Rich excited” cake…the fact that Microsoft had embraced this “disruption” early on and clearly put a lot of time, money & effort into their plans and making sure they could execute them, really inspired me. I took the online assessment and signed us up straight after the keynote and couldn’t wait to get started!
I didn’t realise then that Ray Ozzie was behind S+S, but now-I really do credit him with re-igniting my belief in Microsoft as a company, as an industry leader, as an innovator.
He might not be as Iconic, but he’s going to be very nearly as important as Bill…if you look up you can see it in the clouds…
Thanks to Steve Clayton for pointing me to the article, you can see his thoughts on it here.