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My Ray Ozzie Interview On Biz 2

By - May 09, 2006

OzzieI’m still not used to the idea that my stuff at Business 2.0 is not behind a paywall. But it ain’t. Here’s my interview with Ray Ozzie. From it:

When the deal went down, people wondered, Was it Groove that was getting acquired, or was it Ray Ozzie?



The answer’s “Yes.”

At such a big company, there’s so much to tackle. What did you do first?



The first few months I spent doing what anyone who sells a company should do – make sure the acquiring party doesn’t screw up the acquisition. Fortunately the culture that we had built at Groove matched the Microsoft Office development culture, and Groove will be part of Office moving forward. After a few months, I started spending a lot more time in Redmond. Before doing anything, I just wanted to get to know people and understand the map of projects. It’s very broad. Every organization is the product of its leaders and its culture and the negative and positive things that have happened to it over time. So I tried to just learn from people there.

The Microsoft culture is famous for its bureaucracy. People joke about how hard it is to get battleship Microsoft to tack. Did you find that to be true?



It’s true in different ways in different parts of the company. The Windows organization has completely different processes than the Office side, which is completely different than MSN. The MSN culture is younger they’re used to more rapid turnaround in getting their products out. Both the Windows and Office sides ship a product with a mentality of 10-year support. The MSN side puts code into an Internet ecosystem where people don’t expect 10-year support. Users expect to be on the latest version all the time.

What’s different at Microsoft?…..

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9 thoughts on “My Ray Ozzie Interview On Biz 2

  1. John K says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but that picture of Ozzie, and those glasses make him look like a Church elder… Can he really look that old in person and be in charge of MSFT strategy?!?

  2. Rod Edwards says:

    No offense to Ray Ozzie, but groove was a freaking nightmare to use. The idea (p2p enterprise collaboration network) was good though, so here’s hoping he’s a works some great strategies for msft.

  3. John, there was one part of the Ray Ozzie interview that made me crack up and laugh; here it is:

    ……And my intuition says that people don’t want ads jumping around in cells on a spreadsheet. Still, there are many developing markets where we can’t even sell our software right now because the people there can’t afford it.

    It got me to imagine what it would be like if there were PPC ads jumping around on my spreadsheets, PPT or Word Files.

    I never heard anyone bring it down to that level – Certainly don’t want to see ads juming around on my Excel Spreadsheets.

  4. King Troll says:

    This Ozie guy looks very weird. I can’t put my finger on it. Looks like someone I would see walking down the street and I’d peg him for being a pedophile. Looks like the guy who was in the movie Powder also.

  5. Is it possible that the Web Services Direction that Microsoft is treading into, is not only a reaction to Google – but a reaction to software piracy?

    Since, many of the Advanced features are NOT used by the Casual users, and many users may not even use Excel or Powerpoint nearly as much as they use WORD – this lower priced Web option may make many small businesses less likely to buy or use pirate software, and at least a small profit would go to Microsoft in mass if this catches on.

    But to really be complete, Microsoft would have to offer a really good online storage option. Imagine doing word processing and retrieving and saving Yur company’s files from anyplace around the world – USING ONE INTERGRATED PROGRAM OR INTERFACE.

  6. Scott Rafer says:

    It seems appropriate to quote the email I sent to David Kirkpatrick on his Fortune article on Ray Ozzie (which corresponds with the Groove complaint in the comment above). Ozzie’s history would imply that he is not the right person to fix Microsoft’s web services problems.

    Notes was the bane of users and intranet advocates everywhere until after Ozzie left Lotus. Both Notes and Groove are near and dear to the heart of high billing rate systems integrators and command-and-control IT managers, but just about nobody else.

  7. Ingo says:

    The difference is in my opinion, that microsoft wants to control everything like our PC´s or what we do – I think they want to make a glass menkind of us so that they can see wat we buy with PC and what we work. For me it´s not normal.

  8. Keith Cash says:

    I just wish that MS would get the operating System XP forward not use all the resources of the hardware, so I do not have to reboot the computer to clear them out. Would be nice.
    Sometimes miracles happen. Maybe not. Maybe. Maybe not.

    Oh just provide a stable operating system that I do not have to replace for 10 years, and does not overload the hardware.

    I can Dream. Can’t I.

  9. Ray Ozzie interview from May – wonder if any hint was given of today’s news.

    He was certainly aware during the time of this interview