This social connecting and collaborating via the Web and the cloud fits with the vision Ozzie left with co-workers at Microsoft after he decided to leave in 2010. And it could offer some insight into what he might be up to now with Talko.
In his Oct. 28 farewell memo from that year he says, "We're moving toward a world of 1) cloud-based continuous services that connect us all and do our bidding, and 2) appliance-like connected devices enabling us to interact with those cloud-based services." Later in the same email he says, "But there's one key difference in tomorrow's devices: they're relatively simple and fundamentally appliance-like by design, from birth. They're instantly usable, interchangeable, and trivially replaceable without loss."
While that seems similar to the status quo at the time, he drew a difference. "At first blush, this world of continuous services and connected devices doesn't seem very different than today," he wrote. "But those who build, deploy and manage today's websites understand viscerally that fielding a truly continuous service is incredibly difficult and is only achieved by the most sophisticated high-scale consumer websites. And those who build and deploy application fabrics targeting connected devices understand how challenging it can be to simply & reliably just 'sync' or 'stream'. To achieve these seemingly simple objectives will require dramatic innovation in human interface, hardware, software and services."
Ozzie came to Microsoft when it bought another of his startups, Groove Networks, in 2005. Its software platform called Groove provided shared workspaces where individuals could collaborate on documents and also provided private workspaces for each member to work on the same documents privately. As part of Office 2013, Groove is called SkyDrive Pro.
Before Groove, Ozzie worked at Lotus Development in the early 1980s, but left to start Iris Associates, which developed what became Lotus Notes after Lotus bought Iris in 1994. A year later, IBM bought Lotus, with an important part of the deal being that Ozzie stay on for the transition. Then IBM CEO Lou Gerstner personally visited Ozzie to convince him to stick around.
Tim Greene covers Microsoft for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @Tim_Greene.
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