Robert Triggs / Android Authority
TL;DRPanos Panay, the Windows and Surface hardware leader, is leaving Microsoft. This news comes just days before a major Surface launch event and has no solid explanation. A rumor suggests he could be jumping ship to Amazon.
Update, September 18, 2023 (03:18 PM ET): A new report from Bloomberg suggests Panos Panay might be headed to Amazon after his abrupt departure from Microsoft. If so, this would likely mean Panay would be much more focused on hardware rather than software. As of now, this is just a rumor, but we’d expect a full confirmation in the coming days.
Original article, September 18, 2023 (11:37 AM ET): Microsoft Windows and Surface hardware events are about to be a whole lot different. We’ve learned today, via The Verge, that Panos Panay is leaving Microsoft. Panay was known for his off-the-cuff and low-key style of presenting new products. He is also the person most directly responsible for the development of Windows 11.
Panay joined Microsoft 19 years ago. Over the years, he climbed the ladder quickly to become the chief product officer and, most recently, an executive vice president who reports directly to Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella.
The reasoning behind Panay’s sudden exit from the company is unclear. The Verge learned of the news from an internal memo from Rajesh Jha, Microsoft’s vice president of experience and devices. Panay himself has posted the news on X, formerly known as Twitter, but did not disclose the motivation behind the move. He simply said he’s “decided to turn the page and write the next chapter.”
The timing of this announcement couldn’t be worse. We are just days away from the launch of new Microsoft Surface products, which we assume Panay had a massive hand in creating. On August 28, Panay even talked about his excitement about leading that event. That means something sudden and drastic happened between August 28 and today to make Panay leave the company.
Microsoft confirmed that Panos Panay will not even attend the new Surface launch on Thursday.
Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of modern life, search, and devices, will take Panay’s place when it comes to external business with OEMs and other partners. Engineering reports will now go to Mikhail Parakhin or Pavan Davuluri.