Amid misconduct allegations, Alex Kipman, lead developer of the HoloLens, has resigned from Microsoft after 21 years, leading the company to rethink and reorganize its mixed reality strategies. Kipman’s exit comes shortly before the beginning of Microsoft’s 2023 fiscal year, providing the company with an opportunity to reconfigure the HoloLens team—which it plans to split in two. According to a memo from Cloud and AI Vice President Scott Guthrie, the hardware team will join the Windows and Devices group, while the software team will join the Experience and Devices group.
Since announcing the HoloLens in 2015, Kipman and Microsoft struggled to properly place the device, initially pointing it toward the consumer market before realizing the technology’s usefulness in the enterprise market. Now, as the company prepares for the metaverse to fulfill its promise and potential, it must move its mixed reality plans forward without one of its chief visionaries. Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella is committed to exploring multiple metaverses, but with more reports of a toxic workplace and executive misconduct, he may need to reexamine Microsoft’s internal standards.