Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's Chief Software Architect, to Step Down

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Microsoft's chief software architect, Ray Ozzie, whose software company Groove Networks was acquired by Microsoft (MSFT) in 2005, is stepping down from the software giant. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made the announcement in an e-mail posted on Microsoft's website today. Ozzie will stay with Microsoft for an unspecified transition period before retiring.

"Ray helped ensure we have a tremendously rich platform foundation that will enable app-level innovation across the company and by customers for years to come," wrote Ballmer, who said there will be no successor to Ozzie's post. "Ray has played a critical role in helping us to assume the leadership position in the cloud, and positioned us well for future success."

Ballmer announced Ozzie's departure on the day competitor Apple (AAPL) said earnings surged 70% largely on sales of its iPhones. Apple shares advanced 1% in regular trading Monday, then fell about 6% in extended trading on what may have been disappointing results for margins and worries over supply-chain problems.

Microsoft shares, which advanced 1.1% in regular trading Monday, declined almost 2% in extended trading.

Ozzie, a member of the Computer Museum Industry Hall of Fame, was named "Person of the Year" in 1995 by PC Magazine. He was Microsoft's chief technical officer before taking on the role of chief software architect in 2006.

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