NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- One of Microsoft's key visionary thinkers is making his exit.
Chief software architect Ray Ozzie is retiring from the company, chief executive Steve Ballmer said Monday in an e-mail to employees. Ozzie will stick around a bit longer to manage his transition, but will soon depart, and has no further job plans at this time.
The surprise move eliminates one of Microsoft's highest profile leaders. Famed in tech circles for his role in creating Lotus Notes, Ozzie joined Microsoft as its chief technical officer in 2005, after the company acquired his collaboration software venture Groove Networks.
In 2006, Ozzie inherited the chief software architect role from the man it was created for: Bill Gates, who turned the reins over as part of his plan to relinquish day-to-day control of the software giant.
Ballmer said the company will not seek a replacement for Ozzie and will eliminate the chief software architect job.
Before he departs, Ozzie will focus his efforts on Microsoft's entertainment business. That unit has struggled for years and underwent a management shakeup earlier this year, when leader Robbie Bach left the company.
"While Ray will be onboard for a while, I'd like to thank him today for his contributions to Microsoft," Ballmer said in the memo.
As chief software architect, Ozzie was responsible for driving key elements of Microsoft's technical strategy, including its strategy for competing in the "cloud" computing arena of pervasively connected devices. His departure comes as Microsoft faces growing doubts about its positioning for the smartphone-driven for the future -- and about its leadership.
Kraft Heinz has abandoned its more than $140 billion bid for food and personal care products giant Unilever. But the company, which has Buffett as its largest investor, could still be interested in buying another big supermarket staple. More
It's still not clear whether millions of European Union migrants living in the U.K. will be permitted to stay in the country. More
In 1998, Ntsiki Biyela won a scholarship to study wine making. Now she's about to launch her own brand. More
Pay yourself first; donate stuff you don't need to charity and remember to claim deductions; finally, cut your recurring expenses. More