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Surface leader Panos Panay is now head of engineering for all of Microsoft's devices

Panos Panay and Surface Pro 3
Panos Panay and Surface Pro 3 (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Panos Panay, the highly visible leader of Microsoft's Surface tablet development team, has a lot more responsibility now. Microsoft has quietly put him in charge of engineering for all of its premium devices, including Windows Phones, Xbox, Surface Hub, Microsoft Band and HoloLens.

The promotion was first reported by ZDNet which confirmed the news with Microsoft that Panay "will be taking over (engineering for) premium devices." It's not yet known what his new official title will be at the company. It's a big sign of confidence from Microsoft on Panay's execution of its Surface tablet division, which went from being a big money loser for the company to a successful division, thanks largely to the sales and critical success of the Surface Pro 3 that launched in 2014.

The big question is how will Panay's decisions affect Microsoft's future hardware products. Will we seem more risks taken with new Lumia Windows Phone devices, and will he put an Intel chip inside them, as our Editor-in-Chief Daniel Rubino recently speculated? How will Panay influence other products like the Xbox family, Microsoft Band and the Surface Hub in the next few years? Only time will tell.

Source: ZDNet

134 Comments
  • You guys know what this means don't you? Future Lumia's will be Surface in disguise....... Yeah baby!
  • BEST NEWS EVER!!!!
    SURFACE PHONE ON ITS WAY.
    SICK AND TIRED OF NOKIA'S LEGACY NONSENSE.
  • But Nokia's legacy "nonsense" did being us the Lumia 1020, which I and many others would love to see the torch carried on.
  • Dude, the only company to match Apple in terms of innovation and research is Nokia. So pay some RESPECT. Even today, Lumia 2500 is way better than the best SURFACE tablet, with better display and battery life! Your ignorance is here by exposed..
  • "Lumia 2500 is better than surface".. Lol, it shows your stupidity
  • Surely you jest? Apple is not an innovator (i.e., patents)...they do however improve on existing tech and roll it out to the masses faster...there is a place for them but recently, they have fallen off the wagon when it comes to true innovation...
  • No disrespect, but if their technology match Apples, they would never have been in the position of having to broker a deal with microsoft and eventually sell teh D & S division to them to start with because the, "Good Ole Days" of Nokia being, "King of the Hill" would never have ended and we would even know who Apple as a company was! I love Nokia for what they've done, but I'm realistic about their situation and how they got there!
  • Yes if you look at iphones over time they have slowly integrated Nokia design asthetics. Even in their court case with samsung they held up a Nokia as an example that unique good designs are achieveable without copying. but the irony is apple say they dont copy.... they shamelessly steal others ideas- S Jobs quote...    
  • what Microsoft needs to do is to bring the flagship successor of Lumia 1020, that will be a kill.
  • You could have said this without the hyperbole, Nokia's Windows Phones are superb products and generated what is pretty much the 3310 of Microsoft-Nokia's (Lumia 520) mobile division. Also the best selling flagships operating Windows Phone...
  • No need to put down Nokia.  Without Nokia WP might have died long ago, because none of the other OEMs were putting much effort into WP.  Know the history.  Be respectful...
  • You mean without Microsoft approaching Nokia offering to give them millions of dollars to make cell phones, Lumias wouldn't exist, and some other company would own Nokia's D & S division right now. It's sad to see how people let their blind fanboyism get in the way of truth; At least Blackberry face their problems head-on and didn't blame anyone but themselves for the situaton they are in.
  • Nokia and nonsense never go together.
  • Seriously, I see no reason anymore why not to brand the flagship phones as Surface Phones.  Both Mary Jo and Paul have reiterated two things:  1) Surface is an aspirational device, its not about market share.  2) The phone business is no longer about market share.  The fact that we'll get some flagships indicates to me that the phone business is now about aspirational devices.  So... what brand comes to mind when I think first class uncompromised Windows Experience?  Surface!  Do it!  Lumia no longer means first class or aspirational.  It also cleans up the Lumia numbering mess.  The 530 isn't as good as the 635, but the 635 isn't as good as the 535.  Yeah, keep all that in your head.  How about just Surface Phone and Surface Phone XL?  Then when you rev, its Surface Phone 2 and Surface Phone 2 XL.  Easy!  HEY PANOS! GET ON THIS!   Leave the Lumia name to the budget phones.  It still means value to me, and to most people.  It just doesn't mean top teir anymore.   
  • Woop woop! Microsoft is back in the game!
  • Now let's see that the new designs made by him on Lumia (Surface-on-disguise) phones, and even Xbox consoles!
  • I am currently looking for a new phone, have been for sometime however there is simply nothing from Window Phone I want which is sad as I have had the Windows phone for almost 3 yrs. It really is taking too long for me.
  • Grab a 1520 for 180 off ebay.  I have gotten two of them already, one at 260, one at 240.  Not a single scratch on it...zero.  Seriously.  Even if it breaks in 6monhts, with continuum and high end phones out later this year...its not much of a loss.
  • Wolverine... This is EXACTLY what I just did. Just purchased a Lumia 1520 to prepare for WPhone future in the W-10 future installs. Been waiting sooooooo long for MSFT to dig in. Love my SP2. Hope the future brings the same excitement I craved for my SP2 into future MSFT phone releases            
  • Surface phone! Surface phone! Surface phone!!!!!
  • I would love to have a phone that looked like my SP3 ... maybe something that looked like the Zune HD.
  • lumia will become the low end and surface phone will br high end.
  • Wise decision!, Mr Panos Panay has passion for the Surface inventory and now He'll bring that to premium hardware! I cannot be more happy
  • ^This.
  • a plausable outlook indeed. =)
  • I certainly hope so. A "Surface Phone" flagship would be way better than "Lumia 1234" or whatever. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • We need a killer surface phn VERY SOON(THIS YEAR), to rock this world with WOW's. 
  • I don't like him because I think he could have done surface better
  • What could they have done better? I love my SP3!
  • Going to have to strongly disagree. They listened to the complaints on the earlier models and it resulted in Surface Pro 3 which is pretty nice piece of hardware.
  • No everybody has shouted for sim slot
    everybody wanted a sim slot
    Sorry for The bad english
  • I highly doubt that "everbody" (or even the majority) of surface owners were asking for a Surface with a built in SIM card slot. Frankly, data enabled tablets don't tend to sell nearly as well as the "regular" version. Personally, I have absolutely no desire for a data enabled tablet. Outside of companies, I don't personally know anyone who owns one.
  • My dad has one, a iPad 2. But he could get it cheap through his work (he doesn't use it for work though) But as soon as the contract is up he will ditch the simcard. As he is using it mostly on wifi anyhow.
  • So a sim slot, that is a product, just a little behind, is your reasoning for not liking him or think he makes great products? lol
  • So, everybody shouts for sim slot yet sales of LTE tablets are pretty low. When people do buy an LTE tablet, it's because the carrier subsidizes it with a contract and I bet those people cancel the service as soon as the contract expires.
  • Even surface RT was amazing at the time...actually I miss it!!
  • I, like several others, will have to respectfully disagree. He took what many decried as a flopped and seemingly failed product, did it over an over, until we got the beauties that we see today: The Surface 3 and especially the Surface Pro 3. They were not immediate hits, and everyone said Microsoft should just give up. But he stuck with the project, listened to feedback, and made one of the most critically acclaimed devices in recent history.
  • I like him because he has a lot of passion for the products they create. In fact I'd say he's the closest to a Johnathan Ive (Chief Design Officer at Apple, always speaks very passionately in their product videos) that Microsoft has, and that's a great thing for a head of hardware design.
  • gotta agree here, this guy represents a GOOD face for the company. His speeches are great, the way he carries on and on about the product as if he woke up and went to bed right there in the engineering lab. If this promotion carries any extra, I hope its for him to speak on behalf of new released Lumias + Surface. The crowd loves this guy.
  • Marketting failed him with those stupid Surface click dance videos...
  • I believe that's the marketing guys' fault, not his.
  • Yep, and MSFT recently fired most of those useless marketing folks...really good times for MSFT now...
  • Good move Microsoft
  • I agree. The Surface Pro 3 is an engineering master piece, I can't wait to see what he can bring to other MS hardware.
  • That's right, a leader with passion... the right direction IMO.
  • Going by my experience of the SP3 this is awesome news, right!
  • But.. But.. What about Juha Alakarhu? I hope he's still developing Lumia's camera tech!
  • Panos will the engineering boss. He'll probably have a staff comprised of several managers (Xbox, Lumia [EE, camera, RF, fw, sw, etc.], etc.). 
  • Juha is still at Microsoft. He moved from Finland to Redmond earlier this year.
  • I really hope we get some juicy new algorithms for the cameras on the flagships this fall. Samsung and LG have definitely caught up with OIS, I think its time for OIS 2.0 from the nokia imaging team.
  • Wasn't there a Nokia camera guru who left and joined Apple?
  • That was the guy in charge of camera bulges. 
  • Ati Partinen, head of the imaging team left Microsoft for Apple
  • Surface phone=my money coming toward you
  • Does this mean ill get a Vapor MG Lumia? Id be sooo happy if they released one
  • They stopped using vapor mg for the Surface line after first-gen because of an apparent issue with its production. However, I loved the feel and durability of that alloy and would love to see it return.
  • I think it is a great move. WP needs good design to compete with the likes of iPhone, galaxy, m9 etc. SP3 is such a beautiful thing. Hope we will bring the elegance and craftsmanship to Lumia designs.
  • VaporMg Lumia :D
  • I'm actually curious about what he could do with the next MS Band version. I have high hopes.
  • FUCK YES GO PANOS !! Surface Surface Phone Surface Box Surface Band SurfaceLens Surface Mouse And let Panos present everything - none better.   
  • Yes, he's definitely a good salesman. Does a great job of presenting the products and making you want them.
  • Not everything will be replaced with the Surface branding. Xbox will remain as Xbox, HoloLens will be HoloLens, Windows Phone will be Windows Phone (soon to knock off the "Phone" word) and the Microsoft Band will be the Microsoft Band.
  • I was being faceticious. 
  • Facetious*
  • I agree with you that they should replace the Lumia branding with Surface, if for no other reason than brand recognition.  But get PP off the stage.  He comes off like a Jersey Shore cast member.
  • SurfaceSoft too...
  • lol
  • I say this is going to be good!
  • While we won't see it right away, I can't wait to see his design expertise go to work in the Lumia line-up! Missed the boat for the Lumia 940 and 940 XL, but we should see the fruits of his efforts by this time next year. And I for one cannot be more excited!
  • Or did he miss the boat?
  • Boom! Mind blown!!
  • A Surface phone coming? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Since we probably are going to get a phone with intel chip then it will run full Windows 10 wouldn't it? And the rumors about phone dock this phone will be a full pc... And with this guy in charge... yeah will get a surface phone. Ah should i wait for the fall release or jan-feb release with intel chip to replace my 1520 hehe
  • Every time I've seen this guy speak, he just comes off as a cocky douche.  They should keep him behind the scenes and let someone else do the stage work.
  • So was Steve Jobs, honestly. I guess cocky douchebaggery draws demand.
  • Maybe but he knows what the heck he's talking about and he's confident enough to drop a surface on stage, pick it up and turn it back on. I don't think many people would have tried that stunt. He'll help usher in some good stuff.
  • Big news!!
  • Very good move. Lumia line will benefit from this. Maybe next years models.
  • My favorite Microsoft people so far : Joe Belfiore, Panos Panay, and maybe Terry MySon
  • +1 on that list but didn't know Terry was your son ;)
  • Good one.
  • Terry and joe, NO! Six years with windows phone has been a drag with them in the lead and Six years to get the features people begged for. Yet wp is still not up to par with other platforms. And the features we loved, they got rid of. Now they claim circles has some attractive value. They need to go.
  • I'm soooo happy with what he made out of my Surface pro 3 so I can only be utterly happy with this
  • Hopefully no more plastic Lumia's! Plastic will be reserved for the hard-core fanbois.
  • I loved the plastic my 920 came in. I also loved its weight, which I know puts me in the minority.  Even though the Lumia line used plastic, which could be seen as cheap, they made it work in a way that made the phone feel sleek and sexy.
  • I feel like this overlaps with Terry's position. Could someone explain the difference between their positions? Is Panos hardware and Terry software? If so, GAME OVER Apple and Google.
  • i think 2016 will be a great year for MS!! :)
  • He should be the one on stage talking about new Lumia hardware he is excellent presenter
  • Sorry guys, but this guy did not do any engineering with the surfaces, what this guy did was trial and error, which is far beyond what an engineer should be doing, and now i am actually afraid that this will happen with the new phones. I am afraid that the surface phone 1 will be as incomplete as the surface RT. I have a surface 2 RT, and it does not need an engineer to notice that the hinge does not make sense, nor does the charging port.
  • But you do you have a pro 3?
  • So you mean he can't learn from his past mistakes which was already proven wrong by the Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3?
  • The best reason for this is that he definitely knows how to sell the devices in a presentation. His Surface demos drip with an appeal that rival the "magic" Apple audiences see at launches. The more devices they can get him presenting the better, as Joe Belfiore is definitely overused (it's as if MS doesn't see he lacks a certain mainstream appeal. JB comes across slightly cheesy after a while).
  • Build a killer Lumia and smartwatch then everyone goes home happy, but make it available everywhere
  • I love this move. This guy is awesome when it comes to design engineering
  • This guy deserve that promotion so much! He's done an absolutely amazing job. Keeping his head cool in the beginning, with bad reception - But just listening to consumers and improving every generation. This time, they finally did it. Congratulations to Panos!
  • +1520
  • Niiiiiiiiiiice!
  • Cool news. Looking forward to what he brings to Lumia lineup.
  • A surface phone made of vapor mag with kickstand, not lumia plastic.
  • Will vapor mag allow wireless charging?
  • The next Johny Ive.
  • Surface Phone, surface Phone, surface Phone, surface Phone !!!!!!!!!!!!
  • I actually like this guy ... hope he improves the band and phone.  They both need the Surface touch.
  • That's awesome! His demonstration of the SP3 was the main reason I got it, congrats to him and his family
  • It will be a sad day when Microsoft moves away from polycarbonate.  I'm one of few people who probably enjoy a solid plastic phone today. The ever inane chase of ultrathin devices has left too many prone to bending... permanently.  Also increasingly rare to find zany colors as many phone makers move away from removable backs, SD cards, and replaceable batteries.  Give me a nice hand friendly plastic backed phone. 
  • I completely agree. I loved the polycarbonate of my 920, and like the addition of the metal frame in the 830. 
  • Even hololens? What about Alex Kipman?
  • Surface Phone please. A reference device.
  • #BringTheBandToCanada!
  • Will be interesting to see what happens now.
  • Great promotion that puts someone who "gets it" in charge of the entire Microsoft high-end hardware front. Love my 1020 but have been begging for a Surface phone since I got my Surface Pro (original, still my daily driver, awaiting SP4).
  • Awesome news. Love what Panos has done. However, how much did Daniel have to twist your arm to refer to him as "our Editor-In-Chief Daniel Rubino"? I mean, all hail and all that. :)
  • I love this guy... Seems like next Steve Jobs to me, during keynotes...
  • I can only imagine what kind of beast that 14nm Atom SoC would be like with Windows 10 Mobile, the question is who's baseband would it use? Qualcomm? It would be nice if it was chock full of cellular bands like the Nexus 6.
  • the guy who made that gorgeous tablet will now oversee my next lumia's creation? yes please
  • I'm hanging on to my Nokia Lumia 930 for at least 3 years.  Hoping to see W10 on it soon! In the meantime I will watch the new WP come out - and watch, read about them.   Yes, phone porn.  
  • I like this guy. Good for him!
  • Maybe he can help design a Band 2 that doesn't look like a house arrest ankle bracelet?
  • This Man makes a perfect Head of engineering! He speaks with passion and commitment. I'm glad he was chosen for this place. Looking forward to see a Surface Phone cuz I really Love my Surface Pro 3 design. Imagine if he put that design on a phone. Whooossh! I let em take my money away!
  • Lumia with detachable keyboard and proprietary charging port. First edition will be thick and heavy but Q4 2017 we may see some progress.
  • Nice to get a good Greek boy in charge :-)
  • Nice haircut, that's what Greeks are good at ;)
  • I do hope that MS now brings a 'Surface Phone' with similar design philosophy of Surface, plus the vibrancy of Lumia phones.  Realistically, his first objective will be launch and market 940/950 properly. He can only think of Surface phones as a longer term prospect.
  • Makes me feel sad and proud the same time that these Greeks who moved to other countries found and recognized for their job something that would never happen here in Greece.   GO PANOS!!!!GOOOOO......!!!!!
  • Panos is an American of Greek descent. He was born, raised and educated in the US.
  • He's actually Greek through and through, born in Cyprus and moved in the US for his university studies and in the end he settled there.
  • Surface phones ftw
  • surprise us with a Surface Phone soon™! please! :)
  • The person at Microsoft I like the most is Julia White.
  • So, will it be Microsoft Lumia Surface, or Microsoft Surface Phone, who knows?
    Powered with "Intel Inside"?
    Well, we will see, but, still, the NOKIA logo on my 1020 looks like NOKIA never left the building!!! I hope the giant comes back soon, to continue the NSeries with a new N10 (assuption), but please no Android crap on it!
    Just dreaming...
  • Any chance you can correct the typo in the banner headline for this article? Enginnering? Looks abysmal.
  • This is great news. If Surface is any indication, we can expect some even more amazing hardware from MS.
  • Panos Panay looked at real world tablet use and changed the Surface format.  This was a big deal.  Allot of us looked at Tablets initially as a means to consume media (think movies, etc...).  So the original 16X9 (1920x1080) format seemed perfect.  I bought into that and even purchased a Lumia 2520.  That tablet is perfect for watching a video in a lazy boy or airplane seat, but that's where it ends for me. Not convinced? Try using a 16X9 device as a Song Book or Guitar Playing Book.  In Portrait mode, your text is too small.... In Landscape mode, you are scrolling back and forth too much. I find the same, when using my Lumia as a research tool. Early adopters of Surface would have had the same experience I had. With Surface 3 / Surface 3 Pro, the teams under Panos recognized this shortcoming and changed their format.  A humble thing to do as it was an admission that they got it wrong with the original format. 4X3 is better than 16X9 for table use. That kind of candid acknowledgement is needed for Phone/Tablet/PC devices.  With Microsoft's huge installed base, their devices simply don't play together well.  To steal a Job's line, "It just doesn't work." Hopefully, with oversight over all device classes and one unified OS, we can start seeing things like easy asset browsing (think network neighborhood type functionality) and drag/drop sharing (files, media storage, printing, etc..)  The effort to setup tethering my Lumia 2520 to my Lumia 1520 (essentially the same device with a difference in DPI, camera and OS implementation) in 2014 was laughable. Don't even get me started that my Lumia 2520 4G capable premium ARM based tablet is getting left behind so quickly. Obviously, I'm commited to the Windows environment (2 laptops, 2 PCs, 4 Phones, 1 Tablet).  However, so far under Windows 10 and Windows 10 Phone (all previews), I don't see the interaction between all of the devices that are part of the ecosystem working together like they could. I'm not talking performance and stability... I'm talking features... which is what the Tech Previews is about... highlighting upcoming features. I'm hoping Panos can address this lack of interoperability. It should just work effortlessly, seamlessly.
  • Stephen Elop? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android