Ex-Microsoft chief software architect Ray Ozzie joins Hewlett-Packard's board

The move comes as HP focuses on building out its enterprise software and services business

Hewlett-Packard's board of directors has received a major infusion of software know-how with the addition of former Microsoft chief software architect Ray Ozzie.

Ozzie is one of three new board members HP announced Monday, along with James Skinner, former McDonald's CEO and current chairman of pharmacy chain Walgreens, and ex-Liberty Media Corporation CEO Robert Bennett.

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HP's board will grow from nine to 12 members as a result, and it plans "continue to search for additional world-class directors as well as a permanent non-executive chairman," according to Monday's announcement. Ralph Witworth will remain in place as interim chairman for now, HP said.

Ozzie will serve on the board's technology and finance and investment committees, which suggests he'll be focused not only on HP's technical direction but also future acquisitions.

He took over the role of Microsoft chief software architect in 2006 from company co-founder and chairman Bill Gates.

During Ozzie's tenure, Microsoft made moves toward cloud-based software and services, including the Azure cloud IaaS (infrastructure as a service) and development platform. He left Microsoft in 2010 and is currently head of a startup called Talko, which is focused on developing "a new generation of mobile communications applications and services," according to a statement.

Ozzie is also known as the creator of Lotus Notes. He arrives at HP's board as the company, under the leadership of CEO Meg Whitman, undergoes a five-year turnaround plan that includes greater emphasis on enterprise software and services, which carry higher margins than PCs.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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