Tag Archives: live mesh

Ray Ozzie no longer to be Microsoft’s Chief Software Architect

A press release, in the form of a memo from CEO Steve Ballmer, tells us that Ray Ozzie is to step down from his role as Chief Software Architect. He is not leaving the company:

Ray and I are announcing today Ray’s intention to step down from his role as chief software architect. He will remain with the company as he transitions the teams and ongoing strategic projects within his organization … Ray will be focusing his efforts in the broader area of entertainment where Microsoft has many ongoing investments.

It is possible that I have not seen the best of Ozzie. His early Internet Services Disruption memo was impressive, but the public appearances I have seen at events like PDC have been less inspiring. He championed Live Mesh, which I thought had promise but proved disappointing on further investigation, and was later merged with Live Synch, becoming a smaller initiative than was once envisaged. Balmer says Ozzie was also responsible for “conceiving, incubating and shepherding” Windows Azure, in which case he deserves credit for what seems to be a solid platform.

Ozzie may have done great work out of public view; but my impression is that Microsoft lacks the ability to articulate its strategy effectively, with neither Ozzie nor Ballmer succeeding in this. Admittedly it is a difficult task for such a diffuse company; but it is a critical one. Ballmer says he won’t refill the CSA role, which is a shame in some ways. A gifted strategist and communicator in that role could bring the company considerable benefit.

Dropbox: file sync that works, something for Ray Ozzie to think about

It all started when I wanted to get a document onto an iPhone. Apple makes this absurdly difficult, so I installed Dropbox, which does cloud synch of up to 2 GB free, more with subscription, across multiple platforms and devices: Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, Android, iPad and soon Blackberry.

I mentioned this on Twitter:

installed dropbox – live mesh but cross-platform and without the hassles?

and got several responses:

Dropbox is brilliant, I sync allsorts with it and use it as main storage on my netbook!


love that service, I couldn’t even get live sync to sign in!


I just updated my dropbox to the 50GB plan. Now have all my stuff synched across 5 macs/pcs + available on my iPhone.  Amazing

Now, Microsoft’s Live Mesh appeared in April 2008 and was meant to synch files across Windows, Mac and mobile, though the mobile client never really appeared. It has now been replaced by Windows Live Sync. There’s still no mobile support, not even for Windows mobile.

Dropbox launched publicly in September 2008 and now has a team of 28 people according to the About page – including the very capable Adam Gross formerly of Salesforce.com.

It seems to be an example of Microsoft having a good idea but being unable to deliver. The reason I mentioned “without the hassle” in my tweet is that Live Mesh always required a reboot and occasionally caused problems afterwards in my experience. Dropbox did not.

Ray Ozzie is Microsoft’s Chief Software Architect and seemed to be a key driver behind Live Mesh when it was announced. At one time it seemed that the technology might play a fundamental role in Microsoft’s efforts to unite cloud and device.

You can sign up for Dropbox free here.