Alex Kipman, HoloLens Leader, Will Leave Microsoft in Mixed Reality Reorganization After Report on ‘Toxic’ Behavior – GeekWire

Alex Kipman, a technical member at Microsoft, led the company’s HoloLens mixed reality team. (File photo)

Microsoft is splitting its HoloLens mixed reality group and parting ways with Alex Kipman, the leader of the group that was the subject of a recent Internal story that cited him as an example of “toxic” behavior within the company.

The restructuring was announced in an internal email Tuesday night, moving the company’s Mixed Reality Hardware group to the Windows & Devices organization and its Mixed Reality Presence and Collaboration group to the Microsoft Teams organization in the Experiences & Devices division of company.

Scott Guthrie, head of Microsoft’s Cloud & AI Group, said in the email that the changes “will further align and accelerate our overall Metaverse efforts as a company in the coming fiscal year.”

Toward the end of the email, after describing the organizational changes, Guthrie wrote, “Over the past few months, Alex Kipman and I have talked 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.”

Guthrie added: “I appreciate the tremendous insight Alex has provided to Microsoft over the years and all he has done to advance our Metaverse offerings. Alex is committed to helping teams with the transition process over the next two months and ensuring success before looking into what’s next for him.”

Alex Kipman unveils the original HoloLens at Microsoft in 2015. (GeekWire File Photo / Todd Bishop)

the 25th of may Internal The story, by reporter Ashley Stewart, began with an anecdote depicting Kipman, in a meeting at Microsoft with other employees, viewing what an employee later described to the site as VR pornography.

The report described a pattern of Kipman’s alleged inappropriate behavior toward women at the company, including unwanted touching, as an example of misconduct by Microsoft’s managers, saying he got away with it despite promises from CEO Satya Nadella and other top executives at Microsoft. institute cultural changes. .

Microsoft has not commented on the details of the report and GeekWire has not independently verified it. The company usually makes organizational changes in conjunction with the start of July 1 of its fiscal year.

Kipman joined Microsoft in 2001. He holds the title of Technician and is known for inventing products including the HoloLens mixed reality headset and Kinect motion controller for Xbox.

Here is the full text of Guthrie’s email, obtained by GeekWire.

Today I’m announcing some organizational changes within Cloud + AI.

The mixed reality team offers augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) products and solutions, including HoloLens, IVAS, and our Microsoft Mesh service, which are key elements of Microsoft’s overall work on the Metaverse.

The team made great progress with our Mixed Reality work over the past year and reached two critical milestones in the past month:

• Our work with the US Army and the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) project to build a state-of-the-art solution where every soldier will wear a mixed reality headset has been officially approved by the US Army to enter the Operational Test stage ( OT). This is a major milestone for the team and the culmination of years of hard work.

• At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Microsoft and our partner Accenture unveiled an immersive experience built on our new Microsoft Mesh SDK that enables end users to come together in a trusted metaverse space and collaborate on global issues such as sustainability. The experience was extremely well received with great feedback from attendees, and we now have huge demand from customers looking to build similar experiences.

These are significant milestones on our path to creating even richer mixed reality hardware devices, as well as the underlying software collaboration platform to enable more immersive Metaverse experiences.

Accelerating and Aligning Microsoft’s Work on the Metaverse Going Forward

We are making some organizational changes today that will further align and accelerate our overall efforts at Metaverse as a company in the coming fiscal year.

Mixed Reality Hardware teams will join the Windows + Devices organization

Grace Hwang, Knight Reuben, Scott Evans, Ashraf Michael, David Mara and the mixed reality hardware teams they lead are responsible for designing and delivering transformative mixed reality hardware products. This includes our HoloLens and IVAS projects.

With today’s announcement, they will join the Windows + Devices (W+D) organization under Panay Panay. This move will integrate our Mixed Reality hardware teams as part of Microsoft’s broader end-user device hardware organization. Both HoloLens and IVAS are built using Windows, and this change further aligns our client platform efforts.

Mixed Reality Presence and Collaboration teams will join the Teams organization

Carlos Aguilar, Miguel Suffalich, Nikhil Subramanian and the teams they lead are responsible for delivering the next generation of Mixed Reality presence and collaboration services, including our new Microsoft Mesh offering.

With today’s announcement, they will join the Teams organization within the Experiences + Devices division under Jeff Teper. This change will further strengthen and integrate Microsoft’s collaboration efforts going forward. Building compelling Metaverse collaboration experiences – especially in Teams – is critical, and the Microsoft Mesh SDK is increasingly becoming an integral component to delivering this.

Alex Kipman leaves the company and seeks other opportunities

In recent months, Alex Kipman and I’ve 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. I appreciate the tremendous insight Alex has provided to Microsoft over the years and all he has done to advance our Metaverse offerings. Alex is committed to helping teams through the transition process over the next two months and ensuring success before moving on to what comes next for him.

In Closing

I deeply value the significant contributions the Mixed Reality team has made in recent years. The work they are delivering will enable amazing products and advanced applications that will change the way we communicate, work and learn going forward.

These changes take effect immediately and will accelerate business growth and develop leadership capabilities. I am very much looking forward to the progress the new combined teams will make over the next year.

Thanks,

Scott

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