Panos Panay is leaving Microsoft days prior to Surface event — what does this mean for Surface?

Panos Panay
(Image credit: Getty Images / David Becker / Stringer)

Panos Panay, Chief Product Officer at Microsoft, revealed on Twitter that he is stepping down after 19 years of staying with the company. The timing is surprising considering Microsoft is hosting its special press event this Thursday, where it's expected we will see the company's Surface Laptop Studio 2, Surface Laptop Go 3, and Surface Go 4.

Panay was in charge of Windows & Devices, so perhaps the reason for the timing is to give Panay's replacement the limelight at the event to reveal their vision. The company is also planning an internal AMA to answer people's questions about the situation, so we could hear more soon.

What does Panay leaving mean for Surface?

As part of the announcement of Panay leaving Microsoft, the company also shared several details on how it will "double down" on its strategy. Apparently Microsoft's commitment to Surface devices is not changing anytime soon according to an internal company email sent by Vice President of Experience and Devices at Microsoft, Rajesh Jha (via WindowsCentral).

Microsoft Surface Event Oct 12, 2022

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Panay leaving the company is abrupt, as just last month he claimed he would be at this week's event. But The Verge has learned that he would not appear at this event, and it's possible that someone else will take his place instead. Reportedly, Yusuf Mehdi will lead Windows and Surface businesses, but it doesn't appear to be a 1:1 replacement for Panay's role.

It's unlikely this means that Microsoft is pulling away from Surface entirely, but it is a peculiar situation. It is possible that Panay truly did just decide to move on to the next chapter of his career, but until further information comes to light it would be pure conjecture.

Regardless, we're looking forward to the Microsoft event this Thursday and seeing what Microsoft's plans for the future of Surface look like.

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Momo Tabari
Contributing Writer

Self-described art critic and unabashedly pretentious, Momo finds joy in impassioned ramblings about her closeness to video games. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Media Studies from Brooklyn College and five years of experience in entertainment journalism. Momo is a stalwart defender of the importance found in subjectivity and spends most days overwhelmed with excitement for the past, present and future of gaming. When she isn't writing or playing Dark Souls, she can be found eating chicken fettuccine alfredo and watching anime.