Ray Ozzie: Microsoft Must Change With The Times, Or Else

Ray Ozzie stepped down as Microsoft’s chief software architect last week. He’s written a memo on his site telling Microsoft, in so many words, to get with the program. If it doesn’t, well, then the next five or so years will be difficult ones for Redmond.

The memo, entitled “Dawn of a New Day,” calls the past five years “breathtaking,” saying that the next five will be just as electrifying.

And that could be a problem for Microsoft.

Microsoft, Ozzie says, is too focused on traditional “computing” to stay as big and influential as it is in the years to come.

What do you think when you think of Microsoft? Windows, Office, maybe the Xbox. But you certainly don’t think of any of its mobile offerings (though that may well change with Windows Phone 7), nor do you think of “app store.”

Ozzie’s basically saying that, going forward, people will use computers differently. They’re not going to go to their “computer room” to write an e-mail, they’ll just whip out their mobile phone or tablet or whatever. (Yeah, I’m sure a lot of you do that already, but I hardly think the crunch audience is indicative of Joe Public as a whole.)

So, if Microsoft doesn’t get its act together, it could find itself being dominant in an industry that has passed it by.