Microsoft Tweaks Its Metaverse Team as HoloLens Chief Kipman Leaves
- By Chris Paoli
- June 08, 2022
Internal documents indicate Microsoft is significantly restructuring its metaverse team in the wake of allegations of inappropriate conduct against HoloLens co-creator Alex Kipman.
Earlier this week, an Insider report (paywalled) detailed Kipman's lengthy history of alleged inappropriate behavior toward female Microsoft employees. Insider said that over 25 employees came forward to provide details for the report.
Days later, on Tuesday, Microsoft announced Kipman's exit from the company and the subsequent reorganization of its mixed reality group.
"Over the last several months, Alex Kipman and I have been talking about the team's path going forward," said Scott Guthrie, Microsoft's executive vice president of Cloud and AI in an internal e-mail obtained by Insider. "We have mutually decided that this is the right time for him to leave the company to pursue other opportunities."
The plan for the reorg is to split up Microsoft virtual reality software and hardware into two groups, then have each group join an existing Microsoft team. Microsoft's Mixed Reality Hardware group will join the Windows & Devices organization, and the Mixed Reality Presence and Collaboration group will be folded into the Microsoft Teams organization.
Guthrie said that the reorg "will align and further accelerate our overall Metaverse efforts as a company this coming fiscal year."
Kipman will continue to stay in his role over the next two months until the reorganization is complete.
While Guthrie did not address the allegations in the Insider report, he did thank Kipman, who has been with the company since 2001, for his contributions. "I appreciate the tremendous vision Alex has provided to Microsoft over the years, and all that he has done to advance our Metaverse offerings," wrote Guthrie.
In a statement responding to the Insider report, Microsoft said it will investigate any reported claims of misconduct or abuse and will take clear actions, if deemed necessary. In January, the company announced it was conducting an independent review of its sexual harassment policies and how it responds to workplace sexual harassment claims. That report has yet to conclude.