Microsoft makes significant reorg changes to Windows and Azure

Surface Laptop 2
Surface Laptop 2 (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is doing another reorg with the Windows group.
  • Parts of Core OS (and Intelligent Edge) are moving under Panos Panay.
  • The goal is to "deliver iconic experiences across Microsoft" with Surface an Windows 10.
  • No layoffs are expected.

According to ZDNet, Microsoft is further reorganizing the teams that work on Windows and Azure internally in a big way, with part of Azure's Core OS and Intelligent Edge teams joining the Windows + Devices division that was formed earlier this year under Chief Product Officer, Panos Panay. Windows development has previously been shared between Azure and Windows, but today's reorg seems to be bringing more of the Azure side under Panos Panay instead.

This is good news, as it means Panos Panay is now the head of even more parts of Windows. Thurrott has obtained the internal memo and it explains why this change is a big deal:

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.

This reorg further confirms Microsoft's "recommitment" to Windows that it announced back in May. It's clear that Microsoft wants the Windows and Devices team to be working closely with everyone at Microsoft to ensure Surface and Windows products are the best they possibly can be. The memo 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.

Fans of Windows will be happy to see that Microsoft is once again comitting itself to Windows as an OS. Earlier in the year, the company promised new innovation with Windows in 2021, and this reorg is likely part of that journey. It's going to be very interesting to see how Windows 10 (and Windows 10X) progress going forward now that Panos Panay is in charge of a significant chunk of Windows OS development.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • Define "Windows". I think the "Windows" we are hearing here is everything but Windows 10.
  • That would be incorrect.
  • More Panos in Windows is a good thing!
  • In the article, “The future of computing: intelligent cloud and intelligent edge”, Microsoft wrote “The intelligent edge is a continually expanding set of connected systems and devices that gather and analyze data—close to your users, the data, or both. Users get real-time insights and experiences, delivered by highly responsive and contextually aware apps.” The current reorganization of moving an undefined part of the Core OS and Intelligent Edge (COSINE) team into Panos Pany’s Windows and Devices organization seems rather strategic, a sharpening of the tip of his product group’s spear tip. As premises, Microsoft needs to rationalize Windows across both x86 and ARM silicon, embrace the impacts of 5G as it builds out over the next decade, build highly performant and always connected devices that interact seamlessly with the cloud and its vast array of services and for all practical purposes, for an individual, unlimited computing power. With these premises in mind, which are but a few out of a multitude of reasons, the reorganization is a pointy sharp move by CEO Nadella. Microsoft is clearly betting big on Mr. Pany to deliver hardware and software that are transformative with the Surface Duo and the Surface Pro X being the initial critical devices. There are some disappointments as of late with the Surface Neo delay, and Cortana being pulled back from being an all-purpose assistant. However, the opportunity afforded by this reorganization points to a deep commitment by Microsoft to getting Windows 10 and Windows 10X working thoughtfully and seamlessly with these new and old hardware form factors, and cloud services. From this perspective a particular hardware device being delayed a few months or a current service losing functionality outside the scope of this core mission is placed in perspective. Sometimes organizations must step back before meaningful progress is made. That appears to be the case here with the decisions Microsoft has been making. Getting rid of the Windows Phone business a number of years ago was a difficult but necessary decision. It was the most fundamental decision made as it cleared the ground for future development as it freed up capital, development resources, gave Azure time to become world class, allowed time for the hardware team to focus on finding its own future and for that hardware business to grow into something significant. Most importantly this step back allowed the hardware team to develop into something special; you can not buy the culture needed for this to all happen. As usual Microsoft must execute going forward but finally all the necessary pieces are in place for a good decade at Microsoft. This reorganization for now is simply telling, pointy if you will. Time will tell if this reorganization was transformative. And as a final thought, and some snark: Microsoft, please fix your update process as part of all this.
  • They should start from providing NATIVE and UWP apps instead of web based and crappy electron ones
  • so, how about they start testing things with a Surface Pen??
    The latest version of Edge Dev actually broke/disabled the window (min, max, close) buttons when tapped with a pen. Seriously???? what the heck?? and the text input recognition is still crap in Edge. (so I guess this is really an Edge rant, but hey, it gives the Surface experience a huge black eye in my opinion.)
  • and, yes, I have reported it multiple times, with no indication of a fix in the works.