Microsoft is preparing to share its “vision for the future” with AI integration into Windows, Microsoft 365 services, Surface, and more at a special event on Thursday. The event will take place just days after former Windows and Surface boss Panos Panay publicly announced his resignation.
In an internal memo obtained by The edge, Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s head of consumer marketing, described Panay as a “champion of our consumer business and our engineering teams.” He also teased that Thursday’s “special event” will build on the existing OpenAI partnership and is “just the beginning” of an AI-driven vision for key Microsoft products.
“We have innovated and shipped this incredible technology within Edge and Bing. Microsoft 365 and, most notably, Windows Copilot, all on new Surface Windows 11 PCs for our valued OEM partners,” Mehdi says in the memo. “This Thursday, at our event in New York, we will share the next step we will take to continue building this work and leading this exciting new era. “I will keep news of this event confidential until we tell the world later this week, but it will lay out the vision of what is to come.”
Mehdi also says that work with Microsoft’s Surface, silicon and devices, now under Pavan Davuluri, will be key to Microsoft’s future cloud and customer experiences. “This is our opportunity to take a leap forward and change the way devices and systems work,” says Mehdi. “Our vision here has been clearly communicated to our most valued partners and received with overwhelming enthusiasm.”
Microsoft has reportedly been working on its own AI chips that may rival Nvidia’s, and the company may be ready to detail some of that work on Thursday if it has already informed partners about its plans. Microsoft’s work here could also involve pushing OEMs to ship laptops with a neural processing unit (NPU) chip for AI tasks and future versions of Windows. Microsoft is expected to announce its Surface Laptop Studio 2 at Thursday’s event, and it may include its own NPU.
Windows is also shifting leadership, with an increased focus on AI and Microsoft’s Copilot technology. “By bringing Windows, Web and Services together under one team under the leadership of Mikhail Parakhin, we give ourselves the opportunity to reimagine our software offering and consumer experience in a world where Al and Copilot come first,” says Mehdi . “We are leaders in this area and I think the pace and rate of change that will occur when these teams come together into one organization will be an incredible opportunity to differentiate ourselves and deliver value in a way that no one is doing today.”
Mehdi is quickly positioning himself as the public face of Windows, but he remains Microsoft’s head of consumer marketing and does not manage the core teams responsible for delivering the Windows experience itself. The real leader of Windows is now Mikhail Parakhin, executive director of advertising and web services at Microsoft. Parakhin has largely remained out of the spotlight in recent months, publish regular Bing updates to X (formerly Twitter) without profile photo.
Shilpa Ranganathan, head of Windows product management, and Jeff Johnson, who leads Windows client engineering, now report directly to Parakhin, who is just one of a handful of Microsoft leaders to hold the CEO title. The Windows team will now focus on integrating web technologies, artificial intelligence and services into Microsoft’s operating system. It’s clear that Microsoft is increasingly moving Windows toward a web-based future, and we heard during the FTC v. Microsoft hearing that Microsoft wants to move Windows completely to the cloud on the consumer side.
It will be fascinating to see how Microsoft explains its vision for Windows and AI on Thursday, just days after Panay announced his resignation.
Mehdi ended his internal memo to Microsoft employees by rallying the troops after Panay’s departure, in a sign that Microsoft will need its various companies to work closely together if it wants to execute its ambitious AI goals:
We are leading this race to put Al at the service of people and companies around the world. We have the best and broadest product offerings in software, services and devices. And we have the most integrated and compelling vision to deliver these benefits to our customers through our partners and ecosystem. Now is the time for us to step forward, as a collective team, to make this vision a reality.
Our moment this Thursday is just the beginning. We have more experiences and capabilities coming in the coming weeks and months. It’s an exciting time to be at Microsoft.