Panos Panay is out at Microsoft — what it means for Surface and Windows 11

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Panos Panay astatine aboveground event
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft executive Panos Panay has near nan company, ending a astir twenty-year tally successful which he helped motorboat nan Surface business and took a activity domiciled connected Windows 11. He's going to Amazon, according to Bloomberg, wherever he looks apt to return complaint of nan Alexa & devices division.

This is perchance a large woody because Panay astir precocious served arsenic EVP & Chief Product Officer astatine Microsoft, a domiciled which saw him starring improvement connected some Windows 11 and nan company's Surface computers. His departure was announced coming successful an email to Tom's Guide and different property outlets, an email that comes conscionable days earlier nan company's planned Surface event successful New York City September 21.

Tom's Guide will beryllium astatine that arena reporting unrecorded successful person, and we expect to perceive news connected wherever nan institution is taking its Bing, Surface and Windows businesses. AI will nary uncertainty beryllium a celebrated buzzword, but we besides expect to beryllium introduced to caller Surface laptops, and nan truth that Panay won't beryllium astatine nan arena to talk them up is simply a large change.

End of an era

Panay joined nan institution astir 2004 and helped motorboat nan Surface statement successful 2012 pinch nan little-loved Surface tablet. Later known arsenic nan Surface RT (since it ran Windows RT) it was nan first Windows tablet to deed nan marketplace base Microsoft's branding, helping kickstart an full business class for nan Windows maker. 

Now, 11 years later, nan Surface statement has expanded to encompass a slew of laptops, tablets and 2-in-1s that make nan institution a adjacent spot of gross each year. Perhaps much importantly, they service arsenic Windows flagships that thief showcase what a portable Windows 11 PC tin be.

Surface Laptop Studio

The Surface Laptop Studio was nan astir absorbing laptop to travel retired of nan Surface programme successful ages. (Image credit: Future)

I've been reviewing laptops and tablets for years and I deliberation fewer Surface devices person succeeded astatine that amended than nan Surface Laptop Studio, which does a awesome occupation of showcasing really usable Windows tin beryllium connected some a laptop and a tablet—as good arsenic why you want a instrumentality that tin beryllium both. I deliberation it's Microsoft's coolest laptop successful ages, and deserves a sequel.

Unfortunately, it's 1 of nan fewer agleam points successful nan Surface lineup.

Surface Laptop 5 unfastened connected table showing Windows 11 desktop

The Surface Laptop 5 is fine, but there's nary logic to ain 1 complete lighter, sleeker Windows 11 laptops from nan competition. (Image credit: Future)

In caller years I've felt nan Surface Go, Surface Laptop and Surface Pro lines person each suffered from a deficiency of productivity and logic to exist. Each is simply a wholly serviceable Windows PC, but nary make a compelling lawsuit for why you'd want to ain 1 over, say, nan best laptops from nan likes of Dell, HP aliases Lenovo.

As nan institution moves guardant without Panos, it will beryllium absorbing to spot what (if anything) changes successful nan Surface lineup. Certainly it could do pinch a shake-up, arsenic Microsoft's astir caller earnings report showed a 20% year-over-year alteration successful gross from income of devices, which includes Surface computers arsenic good arsenic Xbox consoles. 

We'll get our first glimpse of what's to travel September 21, though whether Microsoft will make immoderate mention of Panay's departure (outside of today's email to press) remains to beryllium seen.


Today's comparatively abrupt announcement of Panos Panay's depature from Microsoft is simply a spot of a surprise, particularly successful ray of nan truth that nan institution has a awesome Surface arena coming up connected Thursday (September 21). 

Was Panay's departure tied to a shake-up down nan scenes, aliases was it conscionable a speedy measurement to get nan news retired and move past it earlier nan institution tries to make immoderate bully property for its upcoming event? What effect mightiness he person connected Amazon and its tablet offerings, particularly successful ray of nan truth that there's an Amazon Devices and Services event happening Wednesday, nan time earlier Microsoft's Surface event?

We don't know, but 1 point is certain: Microsoft's property events are going to look a batch different now that Panos is retired of nan picture.

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Alex Wawro is simply a lifelong tech and games enthusiast pinch much than a decade of acquisition covering some for outlets for illustration Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he presently serves arsenic a elder editor astatine Tom's Guide covering each things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice. 

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