HoloLens Inventor Alex Kipman is Leaving Microsoft Following Internal Reorg

Posted on June 8, 2022 by Laurent Giret in Microsoft, Microsoft HoloLens with 15 Comments

Alex Kipman at MWC 2019. Image credit: Laurent Giret

HoloLens Chief Alex Kipman will leave Microsoft following an internal reorg that the company announced yesterday. The information about his departure came from a new report from Business Insider, which has also been confirmed in an internal email obtained by GeekWire.

Kipman has been in hot waters since a previous Business Insider report cited him as one of the Microsoft execs perpetuating a culture of toxicity within the software giant. Microsoft has yet to confirm Kipman’s departure, but the internal memo from EVP of Microsoft’s Cloud and AI Group Scott Guthrie explains that Kipman is “committed to helping the teams with the transition process over the next two months and ensuring success before pursuing what is next for him.”

This latest internal reorg will result in Microsoft’s Mixed Reality Hardware teams, which are also working on the IVAS (Integrated Visual Augmentation System) project to join the Windows + Devices Group being led by Panos Panay. “Both HoloLens and IVAS are built using Windows, and this move further aligns our client platform efforts,” Guthrie explained in the email.

The Mixed Reality Presence and Collaboration teams, which are working on Microsoft Mesh and other collaboration experiences will join the Teams organization within the Experiences + Devices division led by Jeff Teper. “This move will strengthen and further integrate Microsoft’s collaboration efforts going forward,” explained Guthrie in the internal memo.

This new internal reorg comes at a time when the future of HoloLens seems to be up in the air. Microsoft’s $21.9 billion contract with the US Army to deliver a customized version of HoloLens for the military has hit some hurdles. Earlier this year, Business Insider also reported that Microsoft had killed HoloLens 3 over uncertainty about the platform’s future, a piece of information that Alex Kipman himself vigorously denied.

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Comments (15)

15 responses to “HoloLens Inventor Alex Kipman is Leaving Microsoft Following Internal Reorg”

  1. simont

    If by toxicity you mean verbal and possibly sexual harassment.

  2. nbplopes

    Another Windows Phone I guess.

  3. will

    I am not saying Apple is perfect, but the number of times Microsoft has rearranged the deck chairs and even changed the names of the deck chairs has to be a long list.

    Things still are lackluster, products are left unfinished or on a slow boat to whatever, and people come and go but does anything really change?

    Xbox and Cloud are two areas that Microsoft has managed to turn a ship and create something great. Windows and devices....not so much.

  4. Dan

    Left out the relevant details....

    "Kipman, who joined Microsoft in 2001, was accused of misconduct toward female employees by current and former workers in an Insider report late last month."

  5. John Craig

    I think the bigger story here is, why has it taken this long for Microsoft to remove someone who's been sexually harassing employees for years?

    And, what happens to the HR staff and other senior leaders who have been burying reports of his indecent behaviour for over half a decade?

    The Activision Blizzard aka Harvey Weinstein wannabe mob are going to fit in very well at Microsoft.

    Toxic culture, meet toxic culture. Now, play nicely together. No inappropriate touching of other staff members. Hah, just kidding, go nuts...

  6. bigfire

    It's hard to imagine how much money he's cost the company in their zealous pursuit of something Apple'y cool. First Kinect, which may have singlehandedly lost the console war for that release of the Xbox by saddling it with an extra $100 add-on nobody wanted, and now Hololens, which seems on track to be a cool tech experiment that nobody really productizes.

  7. barrett808

    HoloLens was the most amazing project of my entire career. I was extremely fortunate to be able to work on it with the Analog team. It was like its own well-funded startup, with a move-fast culture that was rare elsewhere within Microsoft. I hope HL can thrive under Panos in ways that never materialized under Kipman.

    • atlantapaul

      Panos will make sure that any future HL product is consistent with the flow of the company.

      • bkkcanuck

        And that I think is a fundamental mistake... if you always make sure things fit into the flow of the company... it is good for predictability of wall street... but are not going to have as much a likelihood of really making anything that is really groundbreaking when it comes to developing new markets. You also don't have the failed projects that as a result produced some technology that then is picked up and integrated into something fantastic and unforeseen. You need both.

  8. dcdevito

    Wasn’t the real reason because he was caught watching VR porn at the office and sexually harassing women?

  9. johnh3

    I guess HoloLens go the same way as the Cortana speaker. Microsoft are not god in the consumer market. Only the Xbox are relevant there.

  10. wright_is

    Having worked in IT for over 40 years, in Europe, none of the companies I ever worked for would have put up with such behavior. At one place, somebody exposed themselves to one of the secretaries, he was escorted from the building and faced instant dismissal - I have no idea how he explained that to his fiancé... But other than that, I've never seen women being demeaned or harassed.

    • bkkcanuck

      Agreed. I don't know if it is a result of early on being a mostly male workplace made up of younger workers that develop the work into an unprofessional frat like environment... and then have certain people immune from punishment for fear of loosing an individual that might otherwise be top talent. Microsoft should have laid down the law much earlier.... and simply said something to the effect "We will treat you like an adult with respect, if you violate that trust - you will be shown the door". I remember being told that in my first days of working at a certain tech consulting firm which was made up of mostly young talent. (a lot of recent grads as well)... and it was a message that was heard... it did not stop the ability to have fun at work during some long long days due to pressure to deliver... but it was balanced that everyone was to treat everyone with respect.

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