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Panos Panay has been promoted to Microsoft's senior leadership team, elevating Windows and Surface

Panos Panay with Surface Laptop 3
Panos Panay with Surface Laptop 3 (Image credit: Windows Central)

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 Panay

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: 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.

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

27 Comments
  • worthy promotion. without him, Windows would've been dead. especially surface line.
  • Windows dead? All businesses around the world will just switch over their tech-driven employee needs to which competitor? This is fantasy without some viable replacement.
  • I guess it's shocking Windows wasn't already part of the inner circle...
  • Exactly my thought. MS was born as an OS company. Their OS still dominates the world market. There is no way to even think about MS without thinking of their OS in your first or second breath. This explains the fractured experience in the MS eco-system.
  • Even though Windows 11 is utter garbage and a stain in his CV, Panos' work on the Surface line is worthy of praise. It's a deserved promotion.
    If he plays his cards right, he might even end up replacing Nadella. God knows Microsoft could use someone with actual charisma as CEO again. I wasn't a fan of Balmer but at least the guy commanded attention. Nadella might be competent but you fall asleep just listening to his third-rate wellness guru blabbering whenever there's an event.
  • You're not many of them, just one
  • Windows 11 isn't even released yet to be judged but from what it's showing so far, it's everything but garbage; it's the windows we're used to with some modernization/breathe of fresh air. This is needed to cater to the majority of consumers, who want something that feels and looks modern and looks "cool." Many people are switching to Apple laptops not because they need to but because they feel the OS looks more modern and smooth. Microsoft is giving us what we're used to while also focusing on the look and feel of Windows, to keep and gain new consumers who enjoy an OS that feels modern and there's nothing wrong with that. I thought, I'd hate it when I first saw it because I thought W10 was perfect but after using W11 on my Surface, I actually love it so far and it makes Windows 10 feel old and incomplete...and this is keeping in consideration this isn't the final version that we're using. So the final version should be definitely even more refined and featureful. As for the rest of what your said, I fully agree, Panos would make a great CEO/leader for Microsoft.
  • it runs like crap on even Microsoft products. My surface Book 2 was a speed demon on Windows 10, it lags and hiccups and sometimes just does nothing when I click an application icon or menu. It may look "pretty" but it functions like PooP.
  • You do know that Windows 11 is still in development, right?
  • What part of 'beta' do you not understand?
  • Are you high bro. Take it down clown and stop hating.
  • "Nadella might be competent but you fall asleep just listening to his third-rate wellness guru blabbering whenever there's an event." Do you read your own writing before hitting "comment"?
  • The more I see videos of W11 being tried out on actual laptops (so not VM stuff or the commercials) the more I see it as a worthy OS upgrade: better security, less ram usage, smoother visuals, android support etc. What is not to love actually aside from maybe the start menu? Even the widget menu is kind of cool when seen in action and easy to access with a left swipe.
  • Should be demoted for the dumpster that the duo turned out to be
  • He was set up for duo's release against his better judgement.
  • He was only given the software portfolio including Windows AFTER the Duo launched. When he developed the Duo, it was just the hardware, and not intended to be a dedicated phone. And for the most part, reviews of the Duo hardware have been glowing. The problems with the Duo (except for the camera) are with the software.
  • Why would a phone not be intended to be a phone? That is dumb and I doubt Microsoft ever said that. You are confusing Windows Central trying to make excuses for Andromeda before it was even released. Imagine if Samsung said the Fold isn't a phone? They wouldn't have 800,000 pre-orders right now.
  • "Why would a phone not be intended to be a phone? "
    Because the origins of Andromeda was a pocketable Surface PC, not an Android phone. Those are just the facts. Android was only added after as a last-minute effort to save the hardware effort.
    "You are confusing Windows Central trying to make excuses for Andromeda before it was even released."
    AKA the facts and history of the project versus ... your opinions. Correct.
  • Hey Dan, the fact that people see this company as some sort of religion is ridiculous to me. People will always have their opinion on Beta software and OSs, this is why we have the feedback hub, but at the end of the day, this is software, this is made to improve ones business process and to allow someone to navigate a computer to find and interact with their applications. Do I think W11 is crap? No. but if I did, I would of tried to let my voice be heard in the community to allow things to be better, not slander a team of thousands of people's work. I, one day will love to work on some sort of software to allow people to be more productive, but until then, I will try to stay in my lane and stay positive.
  • This is good news! The future of Windows and Surface is shining bright once again! :-) Congrats to Panos, well deserved for sure. I'm even typing this from my Surface Pro 7 lol!
  • Hopefully more resources will be put into Duo, Android and mobile in general.
  • I wonder if this finally made him smile.
  • He's Cypriot, that why 😅
  • I think Panos is a very capable leader and visioneer. I am looking forward to how he will transform Windows and make it more of a compelling product, in the way that he has done with the Surface line. Congratulations to him.
  • Excellent to have Panay's vision and passion on the Senior Leadership team at MS. This is great news and well deserved.
  • A very well earned promotion. Congrats to Panos Panay. I hope we will finally see the QA team rehired as Insiders cannot test pre-release services like W365. Additionally, the QA team can do cross department work for all Microsofts services and offerings. Allowing better troubleshooting and cohesive integration of the apps and services. Solely relying on Insiders and Telemetry data is not working. By increasing the cohesive experience between services and devices such as Windows and Xbox we have better end to end experiences for game pass and xcloud, a cohesive Windows store for games and app discoverability for any future mobile device. The Windows ecosystem really needs a direct integration with a windows based mobile device to truly shine. We've already seen the barriers Google has put up with Android and the sudden change to app bundles. Also lets face it, devs haven't really lined up to optimize their droid apps for the duo either. So the only option is the slow and tortoise approach. As with a pure windows mobile device, xcloud could really do amazing things. Imagine playing a game on the device pausing in a dungeon and loading up the same game on a xbox or pc and loading to the exact same state. Yes, it's doable with android but Microsoft would be constantly at the mercy of Google's updates just like every other OEM.
  • About time, let's go Panos!!