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Panos Panov. Photo by Getty.

A Microsoft Devices Guru Defects to Amazon

Photo: Panos Panov. Photo by Getty.

This is the time of year when the leaves begin to turn color, Earth, Wind and Fire blares from car stereos, and two tech companies that aspire to be players in consumer hardware—Amazon and Microsoft—show off the gadgets they want you to buy this holiday season. This year, Amazon goes first with an event on Wednesday, followed by Microsoft on Thursday. Already, though, an unexpected personnel change has upstaged the product news from the companies: Panos Panay, the Microsoft executive in charge of its hardware efforts, announced Monday morning that he’s leaving the company after 19 years. Bloomberg reported that Panay is expected to land at Amazon, replacing that company’s outgoing devices chief, Dave Limp. 

The defection of talent from one of the Seattle area’s biggest tech companies to another is fun gossip fodder, the way a player jumping between the New York Yankees and Mets might be (to make things even more interesting, Microsoft ought to hire Limp). But changes in hardware leadership may not be enough to get either Amazon or Microsoft to the World Series of consumer devices, an event that seems to feature a single contestant—Apple—competing against itself year after year. 

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