Microsoft chief software architect Ozzie to retire

Ozzie credited with "critical role" in move toward cloud computing.

Microsoft's chief software architect Ray Ozzie is to leave the company after a four year stint in that position, according to an announcement by chief executive Steve Ballmer on Monday.

The CEO informed the company's staff of Ozzie's retirement through an email, in which he did not give the reason behind the move. Ballmer added that Ozzie was not leaving for another job.

Ballmer also said that he would not be appointing anyone to take over the chief software architect's position.

"Ray has played a critical role in helping us to assume the leadership position in the cloud, and positioned us well for future success," wrote the CEO crediting Ozzie for helping Microsoft move to the "cloud" -online delivery of software services as opposed to hard drive-based.

Ozzie - who took over from Microsoft founder Bill Gates in 2006 - joined the company in April 2005 after the firm acquired his Groove Networks. Previously he was the founder and president of Iris Associates, where he developed an original email software - Lotus Notes.

Ozzie will be leaving the company in a few months after a transition period, during which he will work on Microsoft's entertainment ventures such as Xbox and Zune.