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Key Takeaways

  • Microsoft is reportedly cutting back on "experimental" Surface hardware, including the Surface Duo, Surface Studio, and Surface Headphones.
  • These products have been de-prioritized and won't be getting new product launches for the foreseeable future.
  • This shift in strategy is likely a reason for Panos Panay's departure, as the company seemingly aims to focus on making Surface products more mainstream and profitable.

A few days ago, we learned that Microsoft's leader of the Windows and Devices division, Panos Panay, is leaving the company after nearly two decades of employment. The former executive was promoted to the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) just over two years ago, making his exit seem rather abrupt, especially when the Surface event is taking place later today. Although the Redmond tech firm has emphasized that it is still committed to its Windows and Surface products, new reports now claim that this is not exactly the case.

Citing internal sources, Windows Central and Insider claim that Microsoft is cutting back on "experimental" Surface hardware. While the more obvious candidates for this are the Surface Duo and Surface Studio, another product that is on the chopping block is the Surface Headphones. The aforementioned products haven't been canceled yet, per se, but they have apparently been de-prioritized and won't be getting new product launches for the "foreseeable future".

It is important to note that Microsoft has understandably not confirmed these rumors yet. The company is expected to unveil new Surface hardware today including Surface Laptop Studio 2, Surface Go 4, and Surface Laptop Go 3. It will also place a lot of emphasis on artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities powered by a dedicated neural processing unit (NPU) for Surface devices.

The latest shift in strategy and reducing focus on experimental and niche products is at odds with Panos' approach of innovating with arguably risky form factors, which is likely a major reason for the executive leaving. It remains to be seen if this move will result in Surface products becoming more mainstream, and consequently, more profitable in the near future, but it's clear that this is Microsoft's primary aim. For now, Panos' responsibilities are being split between Microsoft executives Pavan Davuluri, Mikhail Parakhin, and Yusuf Mehdi.