Former Microsoft executive Panos Panay is set to join Amazon as the head of the division responsible for Alexa and Echo devices. This news comes shortly after Panay’s surprise departure from Microsoft was announced earlier this week. He will be taking over from Dave Limp, who had previously revealed his intention to step down from Amazon after more than a decade with the company.
The timing of this announcement is quite significant as it coincides with Amazon’s annual product unveiling event for Echo and Alexa, scheduled for Wednesday. Additionally, Microsoft has its own event taking place in New York City on Thursday.
Historically, the two tech giants have faced issues regarding non-compete agreements. However, earlier this year, a truce was reached when Charlie Bell, an executive from Amazon Web Services, joined Microsoft. This recent appointment of Panay to Amazon’s team further indicates a more harmonious relationship between the two companies.
Amazon’s Alexa group is under pressure to compete with emerging forms of artificial intelligence, including Microsoft’s strategic partner OpenAI’s ChatGPT. To keep up with the competition, Amazon has implemented layoffs within its Devices & Services team. Reports suggest that this division was losing a significant amount, approximately $10 billion annually.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Windows and Devices businesses experienced a surge during the pandemic but encountered a decline in the most recent fiscal year. Windows revenue fell by 13%, while Devices revenue dropped by 24%. As a result, Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s corporate vice president and consumer chief marketing officer, will now take charge of the Windows and Surface business.
Panay’s arrival at Amazon marks a potential turning point for the company’s Alexa and Echo devices. With his experience in Microsoft’s hardware and devices business, he brings valuable insights and expertise to help Amazon navigate the competitive landscape of voice-controlled AI technology. Only time will tell how this appointment will influence Amazon’s position in the market and the direction of their popular smart devices.
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