Former Microsoft product chief joins Amazon as head of devices business

FILE PHOTO: Panos Panay demonstrates the Microsoft Surface Studio computer at a live event in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S.,October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

(Reuters) -Former Microsoft product chief Panos Panay will lead's struggling unit responsible for the firm's Alexa and Echo products.

Panay, who was with Microsoft for more than 19 years and helmed the creation of the Surface line of computers, will take up the new role in October, Amazon said on Wednesday.

He will replace Amazon veteran Dave Limp, who announced plans to step down later this year, joining other longtime executives at the division who left the company last year.

Though relatively small within Amazon's sprawling empire, the device unit has been symbolically important as a gadget testing ground and Alexa's public face through voice-assistant devices.

Amazon has said its devices and services business is not profitable, without providing figures.

Some workers from the hardware unit, who were interviewed by Reuters, said morale within the division has suffered amid staff cutbacks and a pipeline of devices in development that they fear are unlikely to prove hits.

Panay, who more recently oversaw the launch of the Windows 11 operating system, has experience in both hardware and integrated services.

(Reporting by Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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