By Tom Warren , a senior editor covering Microsoft, PC gaming, console, and tech. He founded WinRumors, a site dedicated to Microsoft news, before joining The Verge in 2012.
Panos Panay has always been the force behind Microsoft’s Surface line. He helped bring Surface to life as a secret project more than 10 years ago. He’s presented the new devices onstage at events, showed up at malls to promote Surface hardware, and has steered Microsoft’s Surface tablets to success in the years since.
Now, he’s leaving in a surprise departure announced just days before Microsoft’s next big Surface event. Panay will no longer be presenting at Microsoft’s showcase on Thursday but will remain at the company for another couple of weeks as part of a transition process. He’s reportedly joining Amazon to replace Dave Limp and lead Amazon’s Echo and Alexa push. Amazon is also holding its own hardware event on Wednesday.
Panay has spent the past decade largely focused on Surface devices after Microsoft first developed its tablet as a Windows-powered rival to Apple’s iPad. The Surface Pro tablet, which started off as a string and plastic concept, has had a lasting influence on Windows laptops, pushing Microsoft’s OEM partners and rivals to focus on quality and 2-in-1 devices. The line’s success brought Panay into the role of Microsoft’s chief product officer.