A longtime Microsoft executive is set to leave the company. Panos Panay, after 19 years at the technology giant, will leave in the coming weeks. This comes across as a somewhat abrupt departure, especially the timing of the announcement, just two days before the company’s annual Surface keynote. Panay, who is stepping down as executive vice president and chief product officer, has led Surface computing device efforts over the past several years.
Yusuf Mehdi, who is Corporate Vice President, Modern Life, Search and Devices at Microsoft, will assume this role. That will mean getting straight into the thick of the action for Mehdi, with Microsoft’s upcoming line of Surface computing devices set to be publicly revealed later this week. After that, the focus will likely shift to the next big update to the Windows operating system (can we assume it will be called Windows 12?) which could be released next year. At the same time, Microsoft is largely focused on AI products, both for businesses and consumers.
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“After 19 incredible years at Microsoft, I have decided to turn the page and write the next chapter. I will be forever grateful for my time at Microsoft and for the amazing people I had the honor of building products with,” Panay wrote in an article on X. Panay’s next destination has not been officially announced , for now, although there are suggestions. could be heading to Amazon, to build the next chapter of the Alexa smart assistant and Amazon’s Echo device ecosystem.
It could also be about putting two and two together. A month ago, Amazon confirmed that David Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president of devices and services, would be retiring. The company did not announce a successor for the role at the time. Incidentally, Amazon is also hosting a devices event this week, with new Echo smart speakers and displays, Fire TV streamers and Kindle e-readers expected.
Panay, who joined Microsoft in 2004, focused on building the tech giant’s thriving line of hardware products. Some have been successful, like the Surface line of computing devices, which is the broadest it’s ever been to date. However, the efforts made with the Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2 never made it possible to work on a global stage, and the full potential of the Surface Neo hybrid computing device was never realized either. Many of Panay’s initiatives seemed to be ahead of their time.
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Mehdi is also a longtime Microsoft executive. He joined the tech giant in 1992 and saw the leadership styles of three CEOs during that period: Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and Satya Nadella. Over the years, Mehdi’s consumer-focused roles have included managing Internet Explorer and Microsoft Windows, as well as foraying into search with Bing. It is now a core product for Microsoft’s artificial intelligence (AI) efforts.
Some of Mehdi’s recent successes at Microsoft include a reconfigured AI-enabled Edge web browser, the Bing search chatbot and growing suite of features, Bing Image Creator’s text-to-image AI functionality, and the product’s subtle shift to the platform that sees third-party plugins add value and versatility to users.
Its experience with consumer products takes on even more weight, as the “Modern Living, Search, and Devices” initiatives came after many consumers were disappointed by Microsoft’s disappointing TV layer for Xbox, ending Windows efforts Phone, stopping Kinect interactive games and closing Groove. music streaming app. Consumer confidence was at an all-time low for the company.
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The Surface device keynote later this week, with Mehdi expected to take the stage, will give us our first look at Microsoft’s vision for the Surface and Windows product lines. They are unlikely to compromise on the dynamics of integrating AI layers into the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. The Microsoft 365 CoPilot tool, built on extended language models (LLM) to integrate intelligent features in Apps and Services, is expected to launch later this year for Microsoft 365 apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams.