Microsoft gets new Windows boss as Start Menu man Parakhin 'to explore new roles'

More MS moves just a week after new AI unit and other changes announced

Microsoft just put Pavan Davuluri in charge of the company's Windows and Surface teams, while Windows exec Mikhail Parakhin is "to explore new roles."

This is according to a memo, seen by us, just one week after the Windows giant announced its new AI unit, which will be headed up by DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman. This time last Tuesday, Microsoft announced that Parakhin as well as the GenAI team would report to Suleyman.

But last night, as first reported by The Verge, another shuffle was announced in a memo from Rajesh Jha, Microsoft's EVP for Experiences and Devices. According to the memo, also sent to The Reg, Parakhin is now "exploring new roles." Jha's missive did not make it clear if those roles would be inside or outside Microsoft.

It is the latest rearranging of the deck chairs since the abrupt departure of Panos Panay, the chief product officer and VP for devices.

Following Panay's exit, Parakhin was assigned the task of dealing with Windows and web experiences, while Davuluri set to work leading the Surface and devices team. According to Jha's memo of March 25, Davuluri will lead a combined Windows and Devices team "as a core part" of the Experiences + Devices (E+D) division.

"This will enable us to take a holistic approach to building silicon, systems, experiences, and devices that span Windows client and cloud for this AI era."

Rather than find a place in this brave new world, Parakhin "has decided to explore new roles," as Jha put it. In the meantime, the memo states he will report to Microsoft's CTO, Kevin Scott.

Parakhin is listed on LinkedIn as CEO of Microsoft's Advertising and Web Services since September 2022, and Suleyman's appointment speaks of concern within the company regarding web services, such as the Bing search engine. These have had AI cash poured into them but have yet to move the needle significantly against the market leader, Google.

Many of the company's other AI services, such as Windows Copilot, remain very much a work in progress.

Parakhin is one of the more accessible members of the Windows management group. He memorably promised to "make Start menu great again" earlier this year and attracted flak over Microsoft's Copilot obsession.

The Register contacted Microsoft for its take on the memo, but the Windows behemoth has yet to comment. ®

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