HoloLens Chief Alex Kipman to Leave Microsoft Amid Misconduct Allegations – Road to VR

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Alex Kipman is leaving Microsoft amid what an Insider report alleges to have stemmed from misconduct allegations leveled at the HoloLens co-creator.

The report maintains that Microsoft Cloud head Scott Guthrie is planning a reorganization of the departments, as Kipman is set to leave the company in the next two months as a part of transition process.

According to an email obtained by Insider, the company’s mixed reality hardware teams will join the Windows and Devices organization, which will be led by Panos Panay, whilst MR software teams will join the Experiences and Devices division under Jeff Teper.

The report details alleged actions by Kipman, including inappropriate behavior such as  “unwanted touching” of women employees and an instance wherein Kipman viewed an adult VR video in front of other employees.

“Managers warned employees not to leave women alone around Kipman,” the report maintains, according to three affected sources.

Insider says “[m]ore than 25 employees shared their experiences as part of a report that was compiled about Kipman.”

A former colleague told Insider that the pandemic was “[t]he best thing that happened, sadly,” as no one on the team had to interact with him personally.

Kipman hasn’t responded to any of these allegations. Microsoft also declined to confirm or deny the specific allegations against Kipman, however the company says it’s investigating every report and “for every claim found substantiated there is clear action taken.”

This follows a Business Insider report from earlier this year that cast doubt on a prospective HoloLens 3 amid an internal division that may have hobbled the company’s efforts to release its next AR headset as planned.

That earlier report maintained that progress on fulfilling its $22 billion US defense contract, which aims to put HoloLens in battlefield roles over the next 10 years, has been stymied by internal production issues.

An alleged internal rift stemming from competing designs, one of which would completely reposition HoloLens as a consumer AR device, were citied as reasons for the lack of progress on release of the next-gen device.

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