HoloLens 3 Future In Question As Scandal-Struck Boss Leaves Microsoft

On Wednesday, the tech community was shocked to learn about the impending departure of Alex Kipman from Microsoft. A veteran of 21 years, Kipman joined Microsoft in 2001 and was behind some of the company's groundbreaking products — including HoloLens and Kinect. Kipman's resignation was likely the consequence of an Insider report from late last month. That scandalous May 25 report alleged Kipman to be a habitual perpetrator of verbal abuse and sexual misconduct. It claimed that Alex displayed a "pattern of alleged inappropriate behavior" toward female employees at Microsoft. Kipman's coworkers also alleged that his behavior toward them was often "toxic" in nature.

The news of Kipman's departure was first reported by Insider as a follow-up story published nearly two weeks after they carried the original article reporting Kipman's alleged misconduct. While Microsoft is yet to confirm or deny Kipman's departure from the company. However, a few hours after Insider published its report, folks over at Geekwire corroborated the report by reproducing text from an internal email sent to Microsoft employees. The email — which was somewhat of an internal memo — came from none other than Microsoft's cloud business chief Scott Guthrie. Scott's carefully worded memo confirms Kipman's departure from Microsoft while avoiding going into details about the change. The email also shed information on a planned reorganization of Microsoft's mixed reality division that Kipman headed.

What happens to HoloLens 3 now?

In the emailed memo, Scott Guthrie confirms that he is splitting the existing HoloLens team in two. Team members working on the hardware aspects of HoloLens will reportedly be part of Microsoft's Windows and Devices group headed by Panos Panay, while the software team will be merged with the Experiences and Devices group. It remains unclear at this time how much of an effect this split would have on the development of HoloLens 3. Guthrie also confirmed that the transition would happen over a two-month period at the end of which Kipman would leave the company.

Microsoft's much-talked-about HoloLens 3 project faced headwinds long before Kipman's scandal came to light. In fact, in February 2022 we discussed the likelihood of Microsoft axing the project entirely. That report, which was also based on an Insider story, talked about alleged internal disagreements within the HoloLens team, with the gist being that Microsoft was considering scrapping the project due to a "general lack of direction." While that eventually turned out to be not entirely accurate, if recent developments are anything to go by, it is becoming increasingly evident that not all is well with Microsoft's HoloLens initiative.