Microsoft's Head of HoloLens is resigning; Mixed Reality Hardware goes under Windows & Devices division while its future is unclear
After repeated accusations of bad behavior, Alex Kipman is resigning, and the mixed reality hardware group will be under Panos Panay and the Windows & Devices team.
- Insider reports that Alex Kipman is resigning from Microsoft following previous revelations of inappropriate behavior.
- GeekWire corroborated the news as it obtained an internal email giving more details on the decision.
- The Mixed Reality Hardware group will be put into the Windows & Devices organization, and the Mixed Reality Presence and Collaboration group into the Microsoft Teams organization.
- The U.S. Army's IVAS program was also officially approved to enter the Operational Test (O.T.) stage.
Following the bombshell reporting of Insider two weeks ago, a new report from the publication says the head of HoloLens and Microsoft’s mixed reality efforts, Alex Kipman, is resigning. GeekWire corroborated the news after obtaining an internal email Tuesday evening from Scott Guthrie, the head of Microsoft’s Cloud & A.I. Group.
From Insider’s earlier reporting, Kipman was accused of effectively watching “V.R. porn” in front of employees years ago, along with accusations that he fostered “a culture that diminishes women’s contributions.” There were other claims of inappropriate touching and a report filed against him by more than 25 employees complaining of his behavior.
Over the last few years, many employees in the mixed reality division have reportedly left Microsoft over the poor leadership and uncomfortable work environment.
Kipman has been at Microsoft for 21 years, including under Xbox, where he led the team who created the Kinect system. Kinect later evolved into HoloLens, the first wearable mixed reality headset, which debuted after years of secrecy in 2015.
Due to the fallout from Kipman’s departure, the Mixed Reality Hardware group will go under Executive Vice President and & Chief Product Officer Panos Panay, who leads the Windows & Devices org. Other parts of the team, including the Mixed Reality Presence and Collaboration group, will be put under the Microsoft Teams organization in the company’s Experiences & Devices division.
From GeekWire’s reporting, Guthrie stated, “Over the last several months, Alex Kipman and I have been talking about the team’s path going forward. We have mutually decided that this is the right time for him to leave the company to pursue other opportunities.”
Kipman will remain at Microsoft to assist the teams with the transition process over the next two months, according to the email, before “pursuing what is next for him.”
Neither GeekWire nor Insider has received a comment from Microsoft, but Microsoft makes organizational changes around July 1, which coincides with the beginning of its fiscal year.
In more positive news, the email states that HoloLens for the U.S. Army and the IVAS project (Integrated Visual Augmentation System) “was officially approved by the U.S. Army to enter the Operational Test (O.T.) stage.”
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.