Ray Ozzie was hailed as the oracle of the web when he was named Chief Software Architect last June , a title that had been held by Microsoft founder Bill Gates. A favorite of Bill Gates, Ozzie was championed as the techie that would drive Microsoft to the always on nirvana where Google was ensconced and growing. But Ozzie, after an initial flurry of blog postings and memos, has been largely unseen and unheard. That will end tomorrow when he speaks at the Goldman Sachs Technology Investment conference this week in Las Vegas. Here are the ten questions he needs to answer.
1. How do the Microsoft online (Live) offerings play with the MS applications sold in a box? This is especially significant with Google starting to offer what it claims are enterprise-level office applications.
2. If the Internet is everything, shouldn’t developers be creating applications based on browsers instead of a new personal computer operating system? Shouldn’t developers be thinking about mashed-up enterprise applications running on systems operating within the Internet cloud instead of tuning new apps to Vista?
3. Ray Ozzie probably understands more about replicating applications and data between online and offline systems than any techie around. The online/offline data dance should be viewed as a Microsoft strength and a Google weakness, but you need an Ozzie to explain why Google can’t catch up this year in the this race.
4. Security, security, security. C’mon Ray, explain how the Microsoft Live business will not be saddled with the historical security woes of Microsoft.
5. Identity. See security. Why should developers embrace the Microsoft version of the Internet cloud over other identity offerings?
6. Playing nice with others. The web is all about standards and equal ecumenical interaction between applications. How does playing nice with others co-exist with Microsoft’s long held proposition of their applications working best in a Microsoft only environment.
7. Playing nice with your brothers and sisters. Ray, how about an org chart showing how Microsoft is embracing the Live offerings not only in marketing but in deep organizational and dollar commitment.
8. Living the Live life. What is the future for Live applications and services? Are the Live offerings only meant to be for consumers or very small companies? How about a product roadmap?
9. Timelines. Microsoft’s ability to deliver products on a timeline has been a embarrassment to Redmond. Trying to balance compatibility with past applications and also offer users reasons to upgrade too often results in timelines that slip off the cliff. Put a stake in the ground and give users some milestones to measure progress.
10. Where is your general staff? Sorry, but one general does not an army make. Who are your five top strategists in infusing Live throughout Microsoft.?