With our progress in services and the cloud now full speed ahead in all aspects of our business, Ray and I are announcing today Ray’s intention to step down from his role as chief software architect. [...] While [Ray]’ll continue to report to me during the transition, the CSA role was unique and I won’t refill the role after Ray’s departure. We have a strong planning process, strong technical leaders in each business group and strong innovation heading to the market.Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO
Not that I have so much as a single iota of internal knowledge of what day-to-day development at Microsoft is like, but it seems to me that not filling that Chief Software Architect role is a bad idea. Sure, Ozzie didn't do the greatest job, and yes, there's maybe a handful of people in the world that could fill that role - but this just seems like an opportunity missed.
There is no Microsoft version of a Steve Jobs - no single source of true leadership that can inspire the company that I can see. It's dreadfully needed, to get people excited again. Without the CSA role, well, maybe Steve's starting to write his own way out now. Might be a good first step.