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Cocomo Startup Backed by Former Microsoft Exec Ray Ozzie

Ray Ozzie, who served five years at Microsoft as chief software architect before retiring in 2010, has let it be known that he is working on a new startup company.

The company, Cocomo, appears to be focused on some sort of mobile communications and social networking product. However, no information is available at the company's home page. A clue is offered via a job advertisement. Cocomo is seeking a software designer with experience creating user interfaces for tablet and smartphone form factors, particularly for Apple iOS and Android devices. Windows Phone design experience wasn't mentioned in the ad.

Ozzie described Cocomo to the Boston Globe in an e-mail correspondence, but the article provides few details about the startup. Two former Microsoft employees may join the Cocomo team, the article postulates. Ozzie's non-compete contract with Microsoft ended last year, according the Boston Globe's account.

Ozzie was Microsoft's last chief software architect, having succeeded Bill Gates in that position. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced at the time of Ozzie's retirement that the chief architect position at Microsoft would be eliminated.

Before Ozzie left Microsoft, he published a memo envisioning a shift toward "a post-PC world." A world of mobile connected devices would gradually supplant PCs, he contended -- something of great concern for Microsoft, since Windows accounts for about 90 percent of the PC market and a good deal of the company's revenues. Microsoft has been trying to catch up to its rivals in the consumer mobile operating system market, but it is taking years to do so. Windows Phone 7 products were rolled out in November  2010. Plans to challenge the tablet market with Windows 8 could possibly take shape in the third quarter of this year. However, those efforts still lag far behind Android and iOS market positions.

Ozzie's memo predicted a strong role for social networks, both for individuals and businesses, with the next killer apps being capable of tapping "continuous services." He expected to see problems with the use of the cloud and privacy issues, according to the memo.

Ozzie is generally credited with having fostered Microsoft's overall cloud vision during his tenure at the company. Microsoft announced that it was "all in" the cloud in March 2010.

Microsoft bought Ozzie's company Groove Networks before he joined Microsoft in 2005. Groove, a peer-to-peer collaboration program, was later was incorporated into SharePoint 2010 and renamed "Microsoft SharePoint Workspace 2010." Before Groove, Ozzie was noted for fostering the successful Lotus Notes business e-mail application. IBM bought Lotus Development Corp. in 1995 for $3.5 billion.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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