Panos Panay with Surface Laptop 3Source: Windows Central Panos Panay, newly annointed EVP at Microsoft.

Since the era of ex-Windows lead Terry Myerson, Windows itself hasn't had a seat at the big boy table within Microsoft. However, that has now changed. Chief Product Officer Panos Panay has taken up a new role as an Executive Vice President (via Bloomberg), joining recent appointee Xbox lead Phil Spencer at the senior leadership table, answering directly to CEO and board director Satya Nadella.

When Xbox jumped up to the senior leadership table under Phil Spencer, we saw a flood in relevance and investment for Xbox within the wider company ethos. Windows and Surface could see a similar boost as a result. The appointment shows tremendous faith in Panay's vision for Windows 11 and Surface, the latter of which has grown to another billion-dollar Microsoft business under Panay's leadership.

Panos PanaySource: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

Under Panay, Windows is getting its biggest overhaul in years, with a wide-ranging refresh of the user experience, with an attempt to modernize and add consistency to the aging OS. Microsoft's business has increasingly shifted to cloud-oriented business models in recent years, with Xbox building creator economies into its games, on top of a cloud-powered streaming platform with Xbox Game Pass. Azure needs no introduction, powering a huge portion of the web using Microsoft's vast server farms, and we have Microsoft 365 powering businesses across the world. Windows itself is getting a cloud makeover too, with Windows Cloud PC giving access to secure computers and apps from any device.

Panay's vision for Surface has targeted creators and consumers in equal measure over the years, and Windows 11 certainly seems to be following suit. Microsoft committed to bringing Android apps to Windows itself, and the marketing across social media has increasingly leaned into Windows nostalgia from yesteryear, showcasing a revitalized Clippy and MS Paint. Hopefully, we'll see Windows and Surface enjoy a similar investment boost we've seen for Xbox as a result of Panay's promotion.