Alister Cameron // Blogologist

Changing the world. One blog(ger) at a time.

Ray Ozzie, I am disappointed.

This is Ray Ozzie. He’s Microsoft’s Chief Software Architect. I pictured him kind of younger than that… but Microsoft ages you like nothing else. I mean, just look at Steve Ballmer!

Anyway, see that link on Ray’s page… top right in the sidebar… yeah, that links to his blog. Click it.

You’ve arrived at a page dated November 16th and you’re reading a post where Ray is talking about this, his first post in his third attempt at blogging. He hopes he will do ok this time around:

So … if I couldn’t sustainably blog the last two times I tried, will it work this time? I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned to find out. I certainly have a much more complex life now than I did then, with much less flex time / whitespace within which to blog. Conversely, I’m involved in many interesting and varied issues here that have potentially broad impact, so there’s probably a lot more I’ll want to converse about.

So how’s he going, you might ask? After that somewhat underwhelming reentry to the blogosphere…

Well, how about I told you that the datestamp you see at the top of that post — November 16 — is from over two years ago?! You got that right, folks… Ray’s official bio page links to his blog, and directly to a post he wrote waaaaaaaaaaaaay back in November 2005!

Ok, so maybe it’s a silly oversight to link directly to such an old post. Never mind… so let’s go to his blog’s homepage

Now we’re looking at a blog post datestamped April 1st, and I’m sorry to say but indeed the joke is on us. That’s a post from April 2006. It’s coming up to two years old! And if you count the posts as you go down that page, you’ll find a grand total of six posts. Period.

But it gets worse…

Because Ray’s blog carries (what I assume is) the default Live Spaces blog template, there is a long list of Month/Year archive links running down the left-hand sidebar. They go on forever. And one after the other — if you can be bothered clicking on them in the vain hope of finding a blog post — they come up blank, except for the sad words:

There are no entries in this archive.

No, indeed there are not. None… Not since April 2006. It’s all quiet on the Redmond Front. Verrrrry quiet!

Now here’s the deal. If Ray’s not blogging, I can handle that. If he’s too busy, I’m cool with that. In my consulting I am as much convincing executives not to blog as I am challenging them to consider it.

But hey, if you do have a blog, here are a couple of thoughts:

  1. Build it on a real blog platform that doesn’t create empty month archives by default and deceptively hide the year in post datestamps!
  2. Don’t for goodness’ sake link to it from your Executive Bio page on your Corporate web site if the most recent post is almost two years old.

Heck. I say kill it! Get it off the web. It’s not doing you any favours.

How Ray Lost His Groove

Here’s the other reason why I am disappointed, and it’s got nothing to do with blogging, but I’m still sad.

Before Ray was with Microsoft he was with IBM and Notes. But in-between he built what I thought was one of the most funky cool amazing things called Groove. You can think of Groove (at least as it was then) as a P2P “team workspace” with really nice encryption, SDK, pricing model, UI, etc. The technology was gorgeous, and the power of it was really impressive. We’re talking shared documents, built-in voice conferencing, whiteboarding, project management, etc. And all that run over a peer-to-peer architecture with high encryption and more cool stuff that I can no longer recall.

Now, maybe I’ve got it all wrong, but I feel like since Groove was taken over by MS and Ray got the CTO gig, Groove has just vaporized. Here’s proof of what I mean… I’d like to show you the promo video on the MS site… but the link is broken 🙁 That’s the introductory Groove video, no less!

Ray, are you seeing this?!

Here’s a writer for Red Herring, who last week both praised and damned Ozzie and MS in consecutive paragraphs:

One of Microsoft’s most significant acquisitions was Ray Ozzie, now the company’s chief software architect. We won’t hold it against Mr. Ozzie that he created Lotus Notes, a classic example of packaged software bloat that IBM still foists on unsuspecting customers. That wasn’t why Gates and Ballmer pulled him in.

If you want to see the future of Microsoft, look at Groove, the startup Ozzie built after Notes. Groove was an on-line collaboration platform that allowed users to quickly create shifting groups of workers with finely-controlled access. They could share documents, edit them together, hold meetings and discussions while they looked at documents.

This writer is confused enough to suggest that Groove is a vision of Microsoft’s future, yet speaks of it in the past tense, which might suggest that even technology journalists out there are unaware that Groove still exists and is part of the default install of MS Office 2007 Enterprise Edition.

I’m just wondering… why is Groove hidden away in only the Enterprise and Ultimate editions of Office 2007?! Why is it locked into Office and not also strongly promoted and sold on its own merits?

What’s that Big ‘G’ in the Rear View Mirror??

Microsoft has pretty must lost me. I bought a Mac last month. I dumped Exchange Server about 18 months ago and everyone here’s on Google Apps now. On the Mac I never even looked at Entourage, opting for Thunderbird and Gmail via IMAP.

So what did I do today (for no particularly strategic reason)?? I emailed Google and told them I thought it was time they implemented a Groove-style P2P VPN client app (perhaps delivered with Google Pack) so that Google Apps users can collaborate in a more elaborate, encrypted and “offline-tolerant” way than is currently possible.

And the thing is, I’d be surprise if Google was not already working hard on something like that.

So here’s the deal, Ray. I do still think (and agree with our journalist friend above) that Groove is a sign of things to come in the future… except that I’m afraid it will be Google’s future, not Microsoft’s. I have not seen Google make the kinds of mistakes you’ve made recently… like burying some of your best technology in the bowels of Office Enterprise (where it’s guaranteed never to be found by the vast majority of your customer-base)… like screwing up an executive blog on a screwed up blogging platform.

So please… bring Groove back from the wilderness! Reposition it for “groups” (not enterprises) and work out how it’s everything Sharepoint will never be (but that’s another sad post for another day). Give Google something to really feel challenged about, for a change.

I am convinced in principle — but not in technical detail — that Groove is just at that cozy point of equilibrium… of client app married to rich online services, which Google Apps right now is not. It solves the online/offline question, it does security wonderfully, it’s lean, it’s extensible and so forth.

If Groove is not the (kind of) platform for online apps that stands a chance of winning folks like me back from Google, what will?! Assuming it’s O/S platform agnostic, of course 🙂

I’m sure you get my point.

Oh, and I’m a blog consultant. I can help you sort that blogging thing out too. But just know that I’ll start by trying to convince you to get rid of that horrid V3 thing immediately.

Over and out.

ray ozzie, steve ballmer, bill gates, microsoft, microsoft office, office 2007, groove, groove 2007, office enterprise, lotus notes, live spaces, blogging, google apps, gmail, executive blogs, online apps, office online


Note: Commenter website links are not no-followed, in case
you were wondering... I believe in rewarding commenters!

  1. Posted 11 years, 5 months ago // Permalink

    Google is running away with the race for our virtual persona’s – they are so far ahead, I don’t see how MS will ever catch up. They would be better off blowing the whole shebang up and starting fresh in my opinion.

  2. Posted 11 years, 5 months ago // Permalink

    Sent you a Digg.

    So disappointing how much MS is messing things up lately.

    I’m like you Al, I’d prefer to move to a Mac than Vista.

  3. Posted 11 years, 5 months ago // Permalink

    He’s probably too busy writing a ‘Fake Bill Gates’ blog…

    Haven’t stumbled by here in a while! Keeping well Alister?

  4. Posted 11 years, 5 months ago // Permalink

    Heck, some people just don’t get what blogging’s about do they? I was asked by a client to explore it 3 years ago – I got hooked, she still doesn’t get it!

  5. Posted 11 years, 5 months ago // Permalink

    Great article.

    Groove is great. I’ve been a big fan of it, and it’s a shame what’s happened to it since MS bought them out. Keep up the good work of remind Ray and others of how much they screwed the pooch.

  6. Posted 11 years, 5 months ago // Permalink

    MS link broken?? hahaha typical Microsoft. Lots of money and they still can’t get things right.

  7. Posted 11 years, 5 months ago // Permalink

    Hey Al

    I’m still trying to work out why Google hasn’t gone after MS’s core products. I mean it’s great that they keep coming up with wizz bang gadgets for high end users but MS makes it’s money on the basic stuff that the average punter uses.

  8. Posted 11 years, 5 months ago // Permalink

    @ Brent:
    can be that Mac is cooler, but the most people want that the software they like is running stable and that the computer is not too expensive. And in both Apple falls.

  9. Posted 11 years, 5 months ago // Permalink

    Microsoft just can’t do things the way they should.
    PS: Maybe if they work for Google they can regain their youth. 😉

  10. Posted 11 years, 5 months ago // Permalink

    This is a dumb idea by Microsoft.
    Rather than do this, they should get out of the web portal biz, make an online version of Office and make a deal with Google to host it on Google (Google gets rid of the horrible Google Docs/Spreadsheets garbage), and both companies make money on the advertising.

  11. Posted 11 years, 5 months ago // Permalink

    Just to let you know, it’s WordPress (note the CamelCase) and the link should be to not to .com

  12. Posted 11 years, 5 months ago // Permalink

    MS have been trying so hard lately to compete with google in online services, but yet I don’t see a single online product that’s near Google. I think Google should launch their own OS too, as new vista just plain Sucks!

  13. Posted 11 years, 5 months ago // Permalink

    The links to Ray Ozzie’s blog don’t work anymore. I think he listened to your plea and finally took his blog off the internet. It’s a shame, though. I wanted to read what a ‘to-be’ Microsoft professional sounded like in his writing 😀 .

  14. Posted 11 years, 4 months ago // Permalink

    I think it’s funny to see that he only has 1 friend (!

  15. Posted 11 years, 4 months ago // Permalink

    Microsoft fires on! =)))) And this idea is not dumb.

  16. Posted 11 years, 3 months ago // Permalink

    LOL! Darn. I should come earlier and have a look at it earlier. His life was so uninteresting that he has nothing to blog about =P

  17. Posted 11 years, 2 months ago // Permalink

    Microsoft has lost its edge. The only reason that people still use it is that everyone else uses it. Yeah, there’s Mac, but it’s not too great either and really expensive since the company essentially has a monopoly on its hardware, whereas many companies compete to run Windows.

  18. Posted 11 years, 1 month ago // Permalink

    MS just can’t do things the way they should.

  19. Posted 9 years, 11 months ago // Permalink

    Did the blog ever come back up? Senior exec blogging is back in vogue. Check Erik Larsen of Adobe as he talks us through the story.

  20. Posted 8 years, 1 month ago // Permalink

    The blog is not available anymore when i try to visit it

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  2. Truthdig – A/V Boothwrote an interesting post today on Here’s a quick excerpt This is Ray Ozzie. He’s Microsoft’s Chief Software Architect. I pictured him kind of younger than that… but Microsoft ages you like nothing else. I mean, just look at Steve Ballmer!

  3. […] Ray Ozzie, I am disappointed. Technorati Tags: Ray Ozzie, open standards, Alister Cameron, EU, European Union, API, source code […]

  4. […] * Fucking Microsoft. I’ve wondered for quite a while why anything with a high number of threads is slow ass hell. Everyone in this thread is 50 times smarter than me so I’m glad they’re around to show me how to do this stuff. And Microsoft can suck balls. There are plenty of legit reasons to run multiple connections. Wankers. But we already know they’re a little slow. […]

  5. […] used to live on Microsoft’s blogging platform but the url broke sometime after people started poking fun at the platform. The article is still available at the wayback […]

  6. […] le papa de Lotus Notes, pionnier des outils collaboratifs, aime beaucoup BuddyPress, même s’il n’a pas le temps de gérer un blog. Et Matt aime beaucoup Ray […]

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