Windows Rocked by Major Reorg

Posted on August 6, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface, Windows, Windows 10 with 63 Comments and have viewed internal Microsoft documents describing a massive reorganization of its Windows business, which is now called Windows + Devices.

“Today, we are building upon our momentum and the company is leaning on us to lead the next phase of the Windows vision for our ecosystem with over [one billion customers and counting],” an internal email written by Panos Panay reads. “In taking the next step, our focus is on product-making, aligning experiences across the company, and inspiring our broad and vibrant ecosystem. Our desire is to create end-user pull across all segments of the business. As we move forward, I’m energized and passionate about the incredible opportunity in front of us.”

According to Panay, the COVID-19 pandemic has helped remind Microsoft of how important Windows is to its business. And this realization requires the firm to accelerate momentum by energizing developers, funneling the best of Microsoft through Surface and third-party PCs and devices.

“The mission of Windows + Devices is to build platforms and products that create and complete magical experiences with all of Microsoft, to empower every person and organization to achieve more,” Panay explains. This business stands on three core pillars:

  • Deliver iconic experiences across Microsoft, lighting up both modern work and life.
  • Grow the business of Windows and Surface, delivering the best of Microsoft and creating end-user pull.
  • Lead the industry through innovation and technology, enabling our ecosystem of partners to thrive.

Making this happen requires Microsoft to realign and integrate “for a single strategy and ownership across the business end-to-end.” He cites the following individuals who are changing roles to help lead this new push:

Jeff Johnson will lead the new Windows, Developers, and Experiences (WDX) Engineering team, which is a combination of the Windows Experiences and Developer Ecosystem Platform teams. This team will focus on commercial customers, developers, and consumers, and will “enable ongoing Windows growth and innovation, with a focus on our people-centered and product-making culture.”

Linda Averett will join Windows + Devices to lead a new Windows, Developers, and Experiences PM team that is a combination of the Windows Experiences PM team and Developer Ecosystem Platform PM team. This team will focus on the input stack and “the UI construct,” and will engage with Microsoft’s developer audience. “The team will focus on customer delight and innovation which lead to Windows growth,” Panay claims.

Michael Fortin will join Windows + Devices, expanding his role to lead a new team that combines various services teams like Cosine and 365 Experiences and Services. Mr. Fortin will also be responsible for Windows Client Fundamentals that will “accelerate growth and scale.”

Aidan Marcuss will be stepping away as Devices COO to take on a new role to lead Windows product planning, ecosystem (including the Windows Ecosystem Enablement team), Store, and 1st– and 3rd-party apps. This new team will “lead the Windows product vision forward by connecting planning, execution, and rhythms to our broad ecosystem,” Panay writes. “This alignment is critical at this stage as we create a center of gravity for both Windows client and the overall Windows business.”

Brett Ostrum will lead Devices product and roadmap across Program Management and Hardware Development. “This will establish a single point of ownership for the Surface business and combine the product leadership together across all products including Foldables,” Panay explains.

Robin Seiler will lead the Devices Portfolio and Operations (DPO) team, which will cover end-to-end business strategy for Windows and Devices, framing and funding for long-term business goals, continued responsibilities for Supply Chain, Packaging, and Release Management.

“Windows is a partnership,” Panay continues. “Innovation and success are only possible through close collaboration with other teams across Microsoft. Windows + Devices is the entry point to all Microsoft services, and we are committed to working hand-in-hand with our partners in COSINE, Microsoft 365, SAN, Edge, and so many other teams throughout the company to address customers’ needs.  We will continue to align our product and business rhythms to stay connected on our vision at every step towards achieving our big goals.  By bringing product-makers together, and continuing to work with our partners, we will streamline decision-making and create the best experiences to engage customers, energize developers, inspire partners, and lead the ecosystem.”

The changes are effective immediately.

“For those of you joining the Windows + Devices team today, I can’t tell you how truly pumped I am to welcome you to the team,” Panay concludes. “With this team, with our partners, we are going to make magic together.”