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By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2007-05-01 Print this article Print

However, Petterssen said he was impressed with Ozzies stage presence.

"In terms of delivery, Ray Ozzie was very smooth, elegant and articulate, and he made things really clear for me," Petterssen said. "He clearly and succinctly laid out their overall strategy in not a lot of time and in an entertaining way."

However, some say Ozzie will forever live in the shadow of his predecessor, Gates. He even addressed that in a Q&A session during the keynote.

"Of course Im living in the shadow of my predecessor," Ozzie said humbly. "Clearly, inside Microsoft there will never be another Bill Gates. No, I am not Bill Gates."

But thats not even the issue. And its certainly not the issue with the Ozzie critics I know. In fact, some of them never really gave a great deal of credit to Gates either! Perish the thought.

Internally, Microsoft officials appear to be big on Ozzie and his strategy, his eye for spotting hot technology trends and his style.

"You havent seen internally what Rays done," said Charles Fitzgerald, general manager of platform strategy at Microsoft. "Hes a real CTO. He has a day job. There is a whole set of trajectories that get started up based on what Ray sets into place. Hell set the direction."

Asked to provide a grade for how Ozzie has performed in his role, Fitzgerald gave him an A.

Brian Goldfarb, lead product manager for Web platform and tools at Microsoft, also gave Ozzie an A.

"He prioritizes the projects internally and works behind the scenes to make sure things get done, but hes not going to shout about it," Goldfarb said. For instance, "Silverlight Streaming was his baby. That was his project, but you didnt see him taking credit for it."

Of course, Fitzgerald and Goldfarb almost have to give Ozzie top grades-they like their jobs. But their comments were telling.

Fitzgerald said Ozzies competitive spirit burns bright, too, in internal sessions. You dont work with people like Jim Manzi and Steve Mills, and now Gates and Steve Ballmer, if you arent ready to compete to win. You wouldnt last very long otherwise. And Ozzies been in this industry a very long time.

So I just want to say it again. Ray Ozzie is nobodys nude emperor. He is fully clothed. I saw it with my own eyes. And my bet is hell see this services thing through.

What grade would you give Ozzie?

Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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