The man who built Microsoft Surface could be heading to Amazon

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

What you need to know

  • Panos Panay is leaving Microsoft after 20 years.
  • Panay is responsible for creating the Surface line of devices as Microsoft and has gone on to manage the Windows team.
  • One report suggests that Amazon made Panay an offer to help save its Alexa and Echo speakers division.

When you have a résumé like Panos Panay, people pay attention when you change jobs. After all, Panay has run Microsoft's Surface division for the past two decades and is responsible for some of the most influential Microsoft hardware of all time. This morning, we learned that Panay was leaving Microsoft, but the original report didn't explain why.

Now, according to a report from Bloomberg, it looks like Amazon may have made Panay an offer he couldn't refuse. Panay will reportedly run Amazon's failing Alexa and Echo business, a division that lost around $10 billion for Amazon in 2022 despite making some of the best smart speakers available. We've reached out to Microsoft and Amazon for comment and will update this article if we hear back.

If the report is correct, Panay will replace Dave Limp, who recently announced that he would be retiring by the end of the year. Amazon is holding a big devices and services event this Wednesday, September 20, 2023, and the company will be following up those announcements with a second Amazon Prime Day on October 10 and 11. Coincidentally, Microsoft is also hosting a Surface event this Thursday, September 21.

Microsoft's most recent mobile offering, the Surface Duo 2, was met with critical praise but lackluster performance at retail. And while Microsoft's Windows Phone didn't do as well as the company hoped — with the company axing the project in 2017 — Surface has had more success.

Similarly, Amazon's one and only mobile attempt, the Fire Phone, didn't sell particularly well. While there's no word on whether Amazon would have Panay rekindle a new mobile devices division for the company, it's clear that Amazon's existing devices divisions need all the help they can get in order to turn a profit.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu
  • Windroid 2483
    AC News said:
    veteran Microsoft Surface exec could rekindle Amazon's Fire business.
    I hope so! Amazon doesn't seem to be taking the Kindle Fire seriously, and that's a mastake. Perhapes the best way to rekindle the Fire is to bring back the Fire Phone, and make it what it should have been from the start: A cheap smartphone which comes with Amazon's apps, and is tied into the Amazon eycosystem.