Panos Panay, the always-pumped Microsoft chief product officer and face of the Surface brand of hardware, has been appointed to Sonos’ board of directors. Sonos board chairman Mike Volpi said in a press release that “Panay’s comprehensive background in developing tightly-integrated hardware and software platforms, coupled with a track record of innovation in product design and development, makes him an exciting addition to the Sonos board.”
It might not be worth reading too much into a tech executive serving on the board of another tech company without a change in job status. But it’s hard not to think about how odd of a position this puts Panay in: on the one hand, with Microsoft, things seem to be going well with Google, as the Surface Duo, a Microsoft-branded phone running Android 10, is set to launch in September. Sonos, on the other hand, is in the midst of a legal battle against Google on the grounds that Google stole its smart speaker technology.
Regardless of Panay’s personal standing, though, his long experience in hardware brings added technical expertise to the board of directors, which is comprised of former executives of media brands, like Conde Nast and Hearst Magazines.