Microsoft is gearing up to share its “vision for what’s ahead” 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 chief Panos Panay publicly announced his resignation.
In an internal memo obtained by The Verge, 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 “only the beginning” of an AI-powered vision for Microsoft’s key products.
“We have innovated on and shipped this incredible technology inside of Edge and Bing. Microsoft 365, and most notably, Windows Copilot — all on new Windows 11 PCs from Surface to our valued OEM partners,” says Mehdi in the memo. “This Thursday at our event in NYC, we’ll share the next step we’ll take to further build on this work and lead in this exciting new era. I will keep the news of this event confidential until we tell the world later this week, but it will lay out the vision for what’s ahead.”
Mehdi also says Microsoft’s Surface, silicon, and devices work, now under Pavan Davuluri, will be key for future client and cloud experiences from Microsoft. “This is our chance to leap ahead and change the very game of how devices and systems operate,” says Mehdi. “Our vision here has been clearly communicated with our most valuable partners and met with overwhelming enthusiasm.”
Microsoft has been reportedly working on its own AI chips that may rival Nvidia’s, and it’s possible the company might be ready to detail some of that work on Thursday if it has already briefed partners on its plans. Microsoft’s work here might 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 the event on Thursday, and it may include its own NPU.
Windows is also changing leadership into a new way of doing things internally, with a greater focus on AI and Microsoft’s Copilot technology. “By bringing together Windows, Web, and Services into one team under Mikhail Parakhin, we give ourselves the opportunity to reimagine our software offering and the consumer experience in an Al and Copilot-first world,” says Mehdi. “We are leading in this area, and I believe the pace and rate of change that will happen with these teams coming together into one organization will be an amazing opportunity to differentiate and deliver value in a way no one is doing today.”
Mehdi is quickly being positioned as the public face of Windows, but he remains Microsoft’s consumer marketing head and isn’t directly managing the core teams responsible for delivering the Windows experience itself. Instead, Microsoft is taking a new approach to Windows development and device hardware that spans across three key people: Yusuf Mehdi, Pavan Davuluri, Mikhail Parakhin.
The real engineering lead of Windows, or at least what you see from a consumer experience, is now Mikhail Parakhin, the CEO of advertising and web services at Microsoft. Parakhin has remained largely out of the limelight in recent months, posting regular Bing updates on X (formerly Twitter) without a profile picture.
Shilpa Ranganathan, head of Windows product management, and Jeff Johnson, who leads Windows client engineering, now report directly to Parakhin — who is only one of a handful of Microsoft leaders who have a CEO title.
But with Microsoft’s new approach to devices and Windows, the company will also be leaning on Pavan Davuluri to deliver on the hardware and silicon side. Yusuf Mehdi will drive the overall of vision of Windows, with Davuluri and Parakhin focused on the key engineering challenges to deliver Microsoft’s new AI vision of Windows and devices.
The Windows team will also now be focused on integrating web technologies, AI, and services into Microsoft’s operating system. It’s clear Microsoft is increasingly pivoting Windows to a web-based future here, and we heard during the FTC v. Microsoft hearing that Microsoft wants to move Windows fully to the cloud on the consumer side.
How Microsoft explains its Windows and AI vision on Thursday will be fascinating to see, just days after Panay announced his resignation.
Mehdi finished up his internal memo to Microsoft employees by rallying the troops after Panay’s departure, in a sign that Microsoft will need its various businesses to work closely together if it wants to execute its ambitious AI goals:
We lead in this race to put Al in service of people and businesses around the globe. We have the best and broadest product offerings across software, services, and devices. And we have the most integrated and compelling vision for delivering these advantages to our customers through our partners and ecosystem. Now is the time for us to step up — as a collective team — to deliver on this vision.
Our moment this Thursday is only the beginning. We have more experiences and capabilities coming soon in the weeks and months ahead. It’s an exciting time to be at Microsoft.
Update, September 20th 10:40AM ET: Article updated to further clarify how Windows is now being managed inside Microsoft.