Microsoft has sought to clarify the reasoning behind the imminent departure of HoloLens boss Alex Kipman.
Kipman was very much the face of Microsoft’s mixed reality play over the years. He also had a hand in the company’s Xbox add-on, the Kinect.
A cloud has hovered over the HoloLens division for some time, as reports of issues within the team circulated and a hoped-for follow-up to the increasingly long-in-the-tooth HoloLens 2 conspicuously failed to make an appearance during Microsoft’s Build event in May.
Kipman was also recently the target of a Business Insider report alleging he was part of a culture of inappropriate behavior at the company. We have asked Microsoft for comment on the allegations.
Microsoft is now splitting its HoloLens mixed reality group and the HoloLens boss will be leaving the company during the reorganization “to pursue other interests.” The HoloLens hardware has been moved into the Windows and Devices group. The mixed reality presence and collaboration group is to be shifted under the Teams umbrella.
Microsoft’s complete statement on the matter is below:
In order to accelerate business growth, build leadership capability and to further align Microsoft’s work on the Metaverse going forward, Microsoft made the following organizational changes:
The Mixed Reality Hardware (IVAS and HoloLens) teams will join the Windows + Devices organization
The Mixed Reality Presence and Collaboration teams will join the Teams organization
Alex Kipman will leave the company to pursue other interests, after spending the next two months helping with the transition.
Kipman joins other notable departures from Microsoft in recent years. Terry Myerson was memorably ejected in 2018, and Panos Panay was eventually handed the reins to the Windows and Devices group. And now, it appears, Panay will be looking after a stack of HoloLens goggles.
A source in the VR industry expressed concern that moving the HoloLens team to the Windows group might result in dilution of effort.
As for HoloLens, Microsoft’s flagship contract with the US military to utilize the technology has not been going well. As recently as April the US Dept of Defense’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) cast some doubt on whether the project was value for money, saying that without “user acceptance” the procurement “could result in wasting up to $21.88 billion in taxpayer funds to field a system that soldiers may not want to use or use as intended.” ®
source: The Register