Microsoft, Post-Gates

Stopped by to hear tech journalist Mary Jo Foley discuss her new book, “Microsoft 2.0, How Microsoft Plans to Stay Relevant in the Post-Gates Era.”

On July 1, Bill Gates will give up his day-to-day responsibilities at Microsoft. As part of the transition, Lotus Notes inventor Ray Ozzie was named chief software architect in 2006, put in charge of product oversight.

However, Foley sees Ozzie as a behind-the-scenes player rather than Microsoft’s public face. “Everyone says he’s a brilliant guy, but he cannot deal with people,” Foley said, speaking at a New York Software Industry Association meeting last night.

Foley said Microsoft has become more closely guarded about projects underway, behaving more like secretive Apple.

All the while, Microsoft is working on innovations typically unknown to the larger tech community. “Data portability — Microsoft is actually doing stuff in that space. A lot of times it [Microsoft] gets dinged for being complacent, but it’s in the pipeline. They are just not ready to announce it,” she said.

What about Microsoft’s proposal to acquire Yahoo’s search-ad business? “It would make a lot more sense for Microsoft to sell its online ad business to Yahoo and have a joint venture,” she said. “Yahoo would be crazy to sell its search business.”

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