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Microsoft’s executive shake-up casts a shadow on upcoming Surface event

Panos Panay at AMD's CES 2023 presentation.

In what some are calling the “end of an era,” Microsoft revealed that long-time Surface and Windows leader, Panos Panay, would be leaving the company. The announcement comes just days before Microsoft’s Surface and AI event on September 21, where the company is expected to reveal new devices like the Surface Laptop Studio 2.

Panay is a mainstay at Microsoft events, as well as the champion of Surface devices during Microsoft’s presentations. Microsoft says the former executive won’t be at the event on Thursday, according to Tom Warren.

Earlier in the year, Microsoft announced 10,000 layoffs in a move to make “changes to our hardware portfolio,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said at the time. It seems Panay, who was Executive Vice President and reported directly to Nadella, decided to leave on his own, though. “After nearly 20 years at the company, Panos Panay has decided to leave Microsoft,” an internal email shared with Digital Trends reads.

Nadella added a note to the email, saying that the company “remain[s] steadfast and convicted in our strategy, and Yusuf Mehdi will take lead on our Windows and Surface businesses and products externally.”

The new Bing preview screen appears on a Surface Laptop Studio.
Luke Larsen / DigitalTrends

We expect to see several new Surface devices at Microsoft’s event on Thursday, possibly demonstrated by Mehdi. In addition to the Surface Laptop Studio 2, rumors suggest Microsoft will reveal the Surface Laptop Go 3 and the Surface Go 4.

A lot of the key details have already been spoiled, though. A massive leak last week revealed specs for all three devices. The leak shows the Surface Laptop Studio 2 arriving with Intel 13th-gen processors and Nvidia RTX 40-series graphics. It also says the device will carry a 14.4-inch display with a 3:2 aspect ratio and a 120Hz refresh rate, which is identical to the original Surface Laptop Studio.

In addition, the Surface Laptop Go 3 will arrive with an Intel Core i5-1235U processor, 256GB SSD, and 8GB of memory, according to the leak. Outside of hardware, Microsoft is expected to announce AI updates to Windows Copilot and Bing Chat.

Microsoft won’t be live-streaming the event, but Digital Trends will be on the ground covering all of the announcements as they’re revealed. A replay of the event will go live several hours after Microsoft’s keynote.

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Jacob Roach
Senior Staff Writer, Computing
Jacob Roach is a writer covering computing and gaming at Digital Trends. After realizing Crysis wouldn't run on a laptop, he…
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