HoloLens Head Alex Kipman Steps Down; Mixed reality hardware to go Windows & Devices org

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  • Insider reports that Alex Kipman is resigning from Microsoft following previous revelations of inappropriate behavior.
  • GeekWire corroborated the news by obtaining an internal email giving more details on the decision.
  • The Mixed Reality Hardware group will be placed in the Windows & Devices organization, and the Mixed Reality Presence & Collaboration group in the Microsoft Teams organization.
  • The US Army’s IVAS program has also been officially approved to enter the Operational Test (OT) phase.

Following the explosive report of Initiated Two weeks ago, a new report from the publication says the head of HoloLens and Microsoft’s mixed reality efforts, Alex Kipman, is stepping down. GeekWire corroborated the news after obtaining an internal email on Tuesday evening from Scott Guthrie, the head of Microsoft’s Cloud & AI group.

Of Initiated Earlier reports Kipman has been accused of actually watching “VR porn” in front of employees years ago, along with accusations that he fostered “a culture that diminishes the contributions of women.” There were other allegations of inappropriate touching and a report was filed against him by more than 25 employees complaining about his behavior.

In recent years, many employees in the mixed reality division have reportedly left Microsoft due to poor leadership and an uncomfortable work environment.

Kipman has been with Microsoft for 21 years, including Xbox, where he led the team that created the Kinect system. Kinect then evolved into HoloLens, the first wearable mixed reality headset, which debuted after years of secrecy in 2015.

The US Army’s IVAS (Integrated Visual Augmentation System) project is based on HoloLens 2. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Following Kipman’s departure, the Mixed Reality Hardware Group will come under the leadership of Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer Panos Panay, who leads the Windows & Devices organization. Other parts of the team, including the Mixed Reality Presence and Collaboration group, will be placed under the Microsoft Teams organization in the Enterprise Experiences and Devices division.

According to reports from GeekWire, Guthrie said, “Over the past few months, Alex Kipman and I have been talking about the way forward for the team. We mutually decided it was the right time for him to leave the company to pursue other opportunities.

Kipman will remain at Microsoft to help Teams with the transition process over the next two months, according to the email, before “carrying on with what’s next for him.”

Neither GeekWire neither Initiated received a comment from Microsoft, but Microsoft is making organizational changes around July 1, which coincides with the start of its fiscal year.

In more positive news, the email states that HoloLens for the US Army and the IVAS (Integrated Visual Augmentation System) project “has been officially approved by the US Army to enter the Operational Test (OT) phase. “.

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