Microsoft Reorg Puts Panos Panay in Charge of Windows

Posted on February 5, 2020 by Mehedi Hassan in Microsoft Consumer Services, Microsoft 365, Hardware, Microsoft, Microsoft Surface, Windows with 19 Comments

Microsoft is making some major leadership changes internally. Not only is LinkedIn getting a new CEO, but the company is also making some significant changes in two of its prominent consumer-focused businesses: Windows and Office.

First things first, Microsoft is combining the Windows Experience and hardware team into a single team called Devices + Windows. The new team is led by Chief Product Officer Panos Panay, who’s mostly known for leading Microsoft’s hardware efforts. Panay will be leading the new team starting February 25, reports Mary Jo Foley.

What is more interesting, however, is rumours that Panos Panay was reportedly looking for a new role — either inside, or outside of Microsoft. Apparently, Panay considered a leave of absence from Microsoft and might have even considered joining Apple. Mary Jo Foley was unable to confirm this with more sources, so the credibility of this remains uncertain.

“Designing hardware and software together will enable us to do a better job on our long term Windows bets (dual screen, silicon diversity, connectivity, app platform, etc.) and having a single point of Windows Client Experience leadership driving consistent priorities and resourcing across all of Windows client will help all of us accelerate innovation and improve execution,” said Panay in an internal email about his new position.

Going back to the Microsoft reorganisation: Redmond is moving CVP Joe Belfiore to the Office Experience Group, where he will be leading the team. Belfiore previously led the Windows Experience team at Microsoft.

Elsewhere, Microsoft is making some other minor changes. Jeff Teper, who is currently leading OneDrive and SharePoint, will now be leading the Microsoft Teams business as the current CVP of Microsoft Teams Brian Macdonald is retiring from the industry.

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Comments (19)

19 responses to “Microsoft Reorg Puts Panos Panay in Charge of Windows”

  1. bart

    One team making the hardware and the software that runs on it. Seems like a logical move.

    • Passinttd

      In reply to Bart:

      Logical unless it overwhelms the team which would cause both to suffer greatly. Lets hope for good reports to come from this though!

    • jaredthegeek

      In reply to Bart:

      While I would tend to agree even Apple has garbage updates and they have no third party devices at all. Its a bit more complex for legacy support and third party with Windows.

  2. Chris Payne

    Ugh, another year another pointless reorg. Panos should be fired - his leadership of the Surface division has produced only 1 good product and oodles of poorly conceived, cancelled, and debacle-filled ones. Why are they giving him *more* responsibility? The thought that Apple would take this guy makes me laugh.

    • bnyklue

      In reply to unkinected:

      If he has as much success with Windows as he has with Surface, it'll be dead in five years. He's the only person that could make Windows 10 even more messy and unreliable.

  3. nbplopes

    It's definitely a story teller.. He is driven and hungry. Yet products ... full of systemic problems (check Surface historical evolution) mixed with vaporware. But who cares, its cool., its beautiful, full of discounts.

    If Windows was lacking in robustness in the consumer space for my taste, well now ...will be even better.

  4. proesterchen

    Why does this guy who failed to sell his Surface hardware in appreciable numbers for years and apparently wanted to leave the company get to take 1.5 billion Windows user hostage?

    Did no one with a successful track record want that job?

  5. darkgrayknight

    I think this can be a good thing. Maybe we'll finally get a much more consistent Windows experience including icons, menu systems, control panel/settings, etc.

    • wright_is

      In reply to darkgrayknight:

      Just get rid of the settings dialog. It doesn't work anyway.

      Most of our PCs and servers tell me that I don't have the relevant privileges to use Settings, for little things, like, you know, changing the colour, removing applications or getting updates.

      The problem is, I'm logged on as either the local administrator or a domain administrator. If they don't have the rights to use Settings, I don't know who does!

  6. lvthunder

    At least we know someone with some passion is in charge now.

  7. olditpro2000

    Interesting. This might explain what Paul was saying about Panos acting oddly at the Surface event last year.

  8. trevorcurtis

    This is roughly akin to Jonny Ive accepting responsibility for iOS design back when version 7 had a horrible debut. Do executives really think that hardware designers are best-equipped to lead software AND hardware experience? If Panos thought he was busy before, now he has to steer the helm of the “directionless” Windows 10 experience. It looks to me like he should have taken the leave of absence for his own sanity.

    • nbplopes

      In reply to trevorcurtis:

      Ive was right about the need to evolve the look of iOS. Yes, it was not a easy journey, it took two major versions to get it to a point we’re the previous look was forgetful.

      macOS transition was far smoother in that regard.

      Anyway, Panos is a lot different from I’ve. Panos has the blood of a seller, and used whatever tools to sell whatever (family ....). He could sell clothing needles if he wanted (grandma)

    • nbplopes

      In reply to trevorcurtis:

      I wish I’m wrong. But it will buggier than ever. Check Surface firmware bug fixes since Surface Pro 3 ....

      Up to a point that Panos had to say, .... “hard science problems” ... referring to power state management. Something other has it sorted.

    • cluegate

      In reply to trevorcurtis:

      Although true, I think this has more to do with the cohesiveness between hardware and software than actual design. If you look at Apple, one of the qualities they have is the fact that their hardware works so well with their operating systems. An iPhone with Apple earbuds requires very little configuration versus having to hunt through bluetooth , find your device, link it ect...

  9. jules_wombat

    I thought Joe Belfiore was going to sea on another sabbatical.