This is a must watch interview for people who believe Microsoft will leave Surface hardware business in the coming years due to poor sales. Panos Panay, who heads the Surface team at Microsoft spoke to CNN Money about billion dollar writedown and how they take failures.
“You know, that billion dollar writedown will never go away,” Panay said. “Those lessons learned from it will always be unbelievably valuable. But the lessons learned when you get a little success with a product — those don’t go away either. That balance of learning has made us feel really good going into the next product.”
He said that a lot of the Surface’s early stumbles was due to project’s secrecy. Microsoft didn’t want to reveal what it is building to its competitors, so it became a secret project not getting enough customer feedback.
Even though his team was responsible for writedown of over a billion dollars, Microsoft didn’t stop supporting them.
“When you look at that writedown and that moment, it was, of course, humbling,” Panay quasi-chuckled, in an exclusive interview with CNNMoney. “But Microsoft has been so amazing and not once wavering on its commitment to making amazing products. Not once.”
In fact, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella ordered Microsoft’s Building 87 transformed into a state-of-the-art hardware design laboratory, where Surface team can create prototype after prototype for new devices. Microsoft’s patience has paid off and it is now seeing turn around in the Surface business as sales is accelerating in the past few months.