HIRING

Bill Gates' Successor Has New Start-up

Ray Ozzie, who took over for Gates in 2006 as Microsoft's chief software architect, drops a few hints about new tech company Cocomo.
Ray Ozzie was handpicked by Bill Gates as his Microsoft chief software architect successor.
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Ray Ozzie, aka Bill Gates' handpicked successor as Microsoft's chief software architect, has a new start-up. Ozzie,  who took over for Gates in 2006 and left Microsoft in 2010, tweeted on Jan. 4: "What a fantastic year it was. On to the next adventure." (Ozzie's noncompete with Microsoft reportedly ended in 2011.) 

The start-up is called Cocomo and is based in Boston–and the man whom Gates once called one of the top five programmers in the universe e-mailed Boston Globe columnist Scott Kirsner to tell him a little about it. Very little about it.

Cocomo is "being bootstrapped with a few folks that I've worked with before. In the short term, I probably won't be posting much more than 'they're recruiting,' because the team won't be ready to talk about what they're working on for some months," said Ozzie, who created Lotus Notes.

The team also includes former Microsofties Matt Pope (who worked at Groove Networks with Ozzie) and software engineer Ransom Richardson. Microsoft acquired Groove, which Ozzie founded, in 2005. The price was not disclosed. 

Just how secretive is Cocomo? Ozzie bought the URL (for $33,000) in October, but there was a false identity record entered for it. Contact details: Sue D Nym, (get it?) with contact address in Anywhere, IL. 

The company's first job posting, for a lead user interface designer, suggests the company is doing something mobile and social. Reads part of the posting: "You're incredibly excited about this new world of mobile and social, and have a deep passion for building stunning mobile experiences for consumers. You’re best-in-class at design. We’re best-in-class at development, and more." 

The posting was sketchy on details about the company, saying only that Cocomo is building "a new communications product for this new world. ...We aspire to deliver compelling tools for social interaction that people will use, value and love."

Ozzie himself was equally cagey. Asked if the name "Cocomo" was a mashup of "collaboration" and "mobile," Ozzie told Kirsner: "There are many other interesting/apropos words that begin with 'co,' such as communication, coordination, conversation, coherence."

Nor did he answer if the company had raised any funds.

Last updated: Jan 6, 2012

COURTNEY RUBIN

Inc. contributing editor Courtney Rubin was for five years a London-based staff writer for People magazine. Rubin, a former senior writer for Washingtonian magazine, has written for the New York Times magazine, Time, Marie Claire, and other publications. She is the author of The Weight-Loss Diaries.




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