Microsoft Surface, Windows Head Panos Panay Leaving for Amazon

Reports have it that Panay is replacing Amazon’s outgoing devices head, Dave Limp.

Kelly Teal, Contributing Editor

September 18, 2023

4 Min Read
Panos Panay leaving Microsoft for Amazon

A month after announcing the departure of Dave Limp, Amazon reportedly has found his successor in Microsoft’s Panos Panay.


Dave Limp (courtesy Amazon)

The news revolves around both companies’ hardware divisions. Limp led Amazon’s devices efforts, including development around Kindle readers, Fire TV, Alexa and Echo. Panay, meanwhile, spearheaded the units responsible for Surface computers and Windows. Speculation has it that Amazon could be looking to bring more of a PC focus into its Alexa and Echo unit, where Panay will take the top role. That division was hard hit last year by one of the first rounds of wide-sweeping layoffs at Amazon.

A Look at Limp’s Achievements, Next Steps as Panos Panay Prepares to Take Over

Limp, senior vice president of devices and services, worked for Amazon for a little more than 13 years. He intends to retire, according to an Aug. 14 joint memo from Amazon CEO Andy Jassy and Limp. Limp will stay for the “next few months,” Jassy said, including acting as part of this week’s Devices and Services event this week. (Observers are expecting a generative AI infusion for Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant. Again, Limp is in charge of enhancements related to that technology.)

Here’s our list of channel people on the move in August.

For his part, Limp said he’s ready for a change. After more than 30 years in technology, “I … want [to] look into the future through a different lens,” he wrote. “I am not sure what that future is right now, with the notable exception that it won’t be in the consumer electronics space.”

Reports: Panos Panay Heading to Amazon, Replacing Limp


Panos Panay (courtesy Microsoft)

Panay, meantime, started at Microsoft in 2004, ending his career there as chief product officer. He worked as general manager for Surface when Microsoft debuted the tablets, the company’s first-ever piece of computer hardware, in 2012. He subsequently helmed Microsoft’s expansion into laptops, desktops and accessories.

Media reports indicate Panay will stay until the transition to his successor is complete; Yusuf Medhi, corporate vice president and consumer chief marketing officer, will take over the Windows and Surface businesses with OEM and retail partners.

Amazon has not yet made an official announcement about Panay’s appointment.

Panay’s departure comes as Microsoft’s Surface group has faced some headwinds. Redmond has cut jobs in the unit and shelved slow-selling products. Plus, the HoloLens mixed-reality goggles project, which Panay has overseen since 2022, also is struggling. The U.S. Army signed a contract for the devices but Microsoft has had to delay delivery by two years because the first iterations caused soldiers to get sick.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella issued a statement on Monday regarding Panay’s exit.

“Thank you, Panos, for your impact on our products, culture, company and industry over the past two decades,” Nadella said. Microsoft, he added, will “remain steadfast and convicted in our strategy.”

What’s Next from Panos Panay Before He Leaves Microsoft

On that note, Microsoft, like Amazon, is hosting one of its annual unveilings this week, and Panay is expected to attend. Microsoft typically reveals new Surface devices and features in the fall and recently sent media invitations to its Sept. 21 “special event.” The Verge notes that Microsoft has been working on three new Surface form factors, which the company likely will show off on Wednesday. The Verge also hints that Microsoft could be planning a significant update for Windows 11.

Such updates would reflect assertions Rajesh Jha, executive vice president at Microsoft, made in an email announcing Panay’s departure.

“[W]e will double down on our strategy,” he told Microsoft employees, emphasizing improvements that specifically speak to AI capabilities. Microsoft has blazed the way in generative AI this year with its additional ChatGPT investment, and the ramp-up of its data center capacity to support AI functionality in Azure, the world’s second-largest public cloud computing platform.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Kelly Teal or connect with her on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

Kelly Teal

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Kelly Teal has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and analyst, with longtime expertise in the indirect channel. She worked on the Channel Partners magazine staff for 11 years. Kelly now is principal of Kreativ Energy LLC.

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