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Ray Ozzie Explains How Microsoft Can Become a Mobile Player (Video)

Talko founder Ray Ozzie has some advice for his former employer.

Asa Mathat

In the kickoff interview of the inaugural Code/Mobile conference, Ray Ozzie said that Microsoft needs to lure back software developers to become a player in mobile again.

“The core fundamental thing that they need to do is be relevant with developers again and be relevant with users,” said Ozzie, who spent years as the Redmond, Wash., software giant’s chief technical officer, during an onstage interview with Re/code’s Walt Mossberg and Ina Fried. “There’s a combination there.”

That’s easier said than done, of course, now that the mobile operating systems created by Apple and Google have come to dominate the marketplace. Even creating products as good as iOS and Android isn’t sufficient, because those platforms already offer developers immediate access to giant user bases, he said.

“Every time you add a new platform … you’re asking developers to do an unnatural act, which is just incredibly difficult to do,” Ozzie said.

He acknowledged that the company lost a step in mobile during his watch. But he gave high marks to Microsoft’s relatively new chief executive, Satya Nadella, adding that he’s surely listening closely to the needs of the developer community.

“He’s a great human being, and he’s a good internal leader,” Ozzie said.

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