Microsoft is merging its Windows and hardware teams

Surface creator Panos Panay will lead the unified Windows + Devices unit.

Panos Panay, Microsoft's hardware head honcho and the creator of Surface, is set to oversee the Windows team too. The company will reportedly roll the product and Windows groups into a single unit called Windows + Devices later this month with Panay at the helm. The move, which is part of a broader reorganization, is a strong indicator that Microsoft is eager to tie Windows and hardware more closely together.

"Personally I'm very excited to lead the Windows Client for Microsoft, which will help us streamline our decision-making processes, be clear on our priorities, and deliver the best end-user experiences from silicon through operating systems across all Microsoft apps and service-connected devices (OEMs and Surface)," Panay wrote in an internal email obtained by ZDNet. "Designing hardware and software together will enable us to do a better job on our long-term Windows bets (dual screen, silicon diversity, connectivity, app platform, etc.) and having a single point of Windows Client Experience leadership driving consistent priorities and resourcing across all of Windows client will help all of us accelerate innovation and improve execution."

However, Panay won't be joining the senior leadership team at Microsoft. Rajesh Jha, who's in charge of the Experiences and Devices division, is still Panay's boss.

Elsewhere, Joe Belfiore, who had been overseeing Windows, is said to be headed to the Office team in the fall after a sabbatical to help run things there. He'll stay in charge of another group called Essential Products Inclusive Community, which is home to Microsoft News and Edge along with associated iOS and Android apps. The corporate shakeup will also see the Microsoft Teams unit getting a new leader, as current boss Brian Macdonald is retiring. Jeff Teper will head up that department, and continue to lead OneDrive and SharePoint.