September 20, 2023: Amazon is set to hire Panos Panay, the departing product chief from Microsoft. This move signals a leadership shift after over a decade overseeing Microsoft’s Surface PCs. Surface sales have faced challenges in keeping pace with the growth of cloud services, and the Windows business has been affected by pandemic-related disruptions.
Amazon is indeed hiring Panos Panay, Microsoft Corp.’s product chief, to lead the division responsible for the voice-activated Alexa assistant and Echo smart speakers. This move signifies Amazon’s efforts to strengthen its voice technology and smart speaker market position.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella emphasized the company’s commitment to its strategy despite the changes, with Yusuf Mehdi taking the lead on Windows and Surface businesses and products externally. Charles Simonyi, known for his role in developing Microsoft’s Word and Excel applications, is joining the management teams for the Experiences and Devices group.
The departure of Panos Panay comes just before Microsoft’s event in New York, where the company is expected to announce its next generation of Surface devices.
Despite Surface’s limited market share in PC shipments, its innovative designs have influenced other Windows device manufacturers. Microsoft generates revenue from licenses sold to these device makers.
Panay had a long and influential tenure at Microsoft, joining in 2004 and holding various leadership roles, including Windows leadership since 2020. He has been part of the company’s senior leadership team since 2021, but he has not announced his plans.