With his promotion to Windows lead last year, it was perhaps inevitable that Surface veteran Panos Panay has moved into the Microsoft Senior Leadership Team (SLT). Honestly, I’m curious why it took this long.
Also curious, there’s no official announcement. And Microsoft has quietly updated its SLT website to not display the SLT; instead, it displays a smaller list of “executive officers” for some reason. We had to learn of the change from Bloomberg.
In any event, Microsoft’s SLT now includes the person directly responsible for Windows for the first time since Terry Myerson was forced out of the company in 2018. That, combined with a renewed emphasis on improving Windows in the form of Windows 11, constitutes good news for the product, those who care most about it, and its users. The only question is whether it’s temporary.
As for Panay, he’s a divisive figure in the community: Some love the guy, and some do not. I like him, but see both sides of it. He can be a plodding speaker, and it’s fair to point out that Surface has been less than successful overall. But he’s also an excellent product designer, and with that renewed emphasis on Windows—a product that has consistently delivered north of $8 billion in revenues every quarter even when Microsoft was mostly ignoring it—his influence will grow even broader.