Two years ago Microsoft moved Windows core development under the Azure team, signalling a further de-emphasis on Windows Client development in favour of their fast-growing server business.

The resurgence of Windows (largely due to COVID-19 of course), must have caused Microsoft to rethink, as they have just moved part of the Core OS and Intelligent Edge (COSINE) team to the control of Panos Panay,  who is already in charge of Windows + Devices (ie Windows desktop and Surface). The changes are expected to create more of an end-to-end servicing and shipping experience, according to Mary Jo Foley’s internal sources.

Microsoft is also forming a new Windows, Developers and Experiences (WDX) Engineering team, which combines the Windows Experiences and Developer Ecosystem Platform teams, all also under the control of Panos Panay, who said:

“The mission of Windows + Devices is to build platforms and products that create and complete magical experiences with all of Microsoft, to empower every person and organization to achieve more.”

This business stands on three core pillars:

  • Deliver iconic experiences across Microsoft, lighting up both modern work and life.
  • Grow the business of Windows and Surface, delivering the best of Microsoft and creating end-user pull.
  • Lead the industry through innovation and technology, enabling our ecosystem of partners to thrive.

“Today, we are building upon our momentum and the company is leaning on us to lead the next phase of the Windows vision for our ecosystem with over [one billion customers and counting]. In taking the next step, our focus is on product-making, aligning experiences across the company, and inspiring our broad and vibrant ecosystem. Our desire is to create end-user pull across all segments of the business. As we move forward, I’m energized and passionate about the incredible opportunity in front of us.”

The new Windows, Developers, and Experiences (WDX) Engineering team, which is a combination of the Windows Experiences and Developer Ecosystem Platform teams will focus on commercial customers, developers, and consumers, and will “enable ongoing Windows growth and innovation, with a focus on our people-centered and product-making culture.”

A new Windows, Developers, and Experiences PM team that is a combination of the Windows Experiences PM team and Developer Ecosystem Platform PM team will focus on the input stack and “the UI construct,” and will engage with Microsoft’s developer audience. “The team will focus on customer delight and innovation which lead to Windows growth,” Panay claims.

A new Windows product planning, ecosystem (including the Windows Ecosystem Enablement team), Store, and 1st– and 3rd-party apps team will “lead the Windows product vision forward by connecting planning, execution, and rhythms to our broad ecosystem,” Panay writes. “This alignment is critical at this stage as we create a center of gravity for both Windows client and the overall Windows business.”

The Devices team will develop product and roadmap across Program Management and Hardware Development. “This will establish a single point of ownership for the Surface business and combine the product leadership together across all products including Foldables,” Panay explains.

The Devices Portfolio and Operations (DPO) team will cover end-to-end business strategy for Windows and Devices, framing and funding for long-term business goals, and will have responsibility for Supply Chain, Packaging, and Release Management.

On the Azure side, Microsoft is creating a new Azure Core team, which will unite Compute, Networking and Storage Services.

The Azure team will also retain a stake in Windows development, especially the Windows core, with that staying under the control of  Executive Vice President of Azure Jason Zander, with the focus on Azure Edge.

There’s also a new “Azure for Operators” team that is about 5G/virtual networking and will include officials from Microsoft’s Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch Networks acquisitions, and Microsoft Corporate Vice President Yousef Khalidi. This team will work closely with the Azure Edge unit.

We hope the changes will result in an improved Windows development story, which seems to have largely stalled in recent years.

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