HoloLens Head Leaving Microsoft Following Harassment Claims, MR Team Reorganized – Report
Microsoft technical fellow and mixed reality figurehead Alex Kipman is reportedly leaving the company in the wake of misconduct allegations, leading to a reorganization in its MR efforts.
Late last month Insider reported [paywall] on claims of inappropriate behavior from Kipman, who heads up Microsoft’s HoloLens and mixed reality work. One alleged incident included Kipman watching an “overtly sexualized pillow fight” in VR in front of staff, with another claiming the executive rubbed the shoulders of a female employee as she “looked deeply uncomfortable”.
Another article from Insider today now says that Kipman has resigned from the company. GeekWire has since published an apparent internal email from Scott Guthrie, the head of Microsoft’s Cloud & AI Group, both announcing the departure and a shake-up for the wider mixed reality team. Microsoft has not responded to either article.
The reported email explains that Kipman will remain at Microsoft for two more months to help with the transition, but doesn’t make note of the allegations against him. “Over the last several months, Alex Kipman and I have been talking about the team’s path going forward,” it reads. “We have mutually decided that this is the right time for him to leave the company to pursue other opportunities.”
The rest of the email, meanwhile, explains that Microsoft’s Mixed Reality Hardware teams are being integrated into the Windows + Devices organization. “This move will integrate our Mixed Reality hardware teams as part of Microsoft’s broader end-user device hardware organization,” the email reads. “Both HoloLens and IVAS are built using Windows, and this move further aligns our client platform efforts.”
It also states that the Mixed Reality Presence and Collaboration teams will join the Teams organization.
Earlier this year another report from Insider claimed a HoloLens 3 device had been canceled in favor of a partnership with Samsung, and that Microsoft’s mixed reality efforts were plagued with “confusion and strategic uncertainty”.