Alex Kipman, the Microsoft HoloLens Boss Resigned After Misconduct Allegations
Microsoft's Alex Kipman, who led the teams that created the firm's HoloLens AR headset and the Kinect motion controller for Xbox and performed as one of Microsoft's top technical fellows, has stepped down after verbal abuse and sexual harassment allegations.
Though the company won't confirm or deny the report immediately; however, GeekWire has confirmed through an internal email from company cloud boss Scott Guthrie, "We have mutually decided that this is the right time for him to leave the company to pursue other opportunities." The memo also details a reorganization for Kipman's complete mixed reality division, with the hardware teams joining Panos Panay's Windows plus Devices org.
Executives Distressed with Kipman's Behavior
According to Insider's sources, around 25 employees of Microsoft contributed to an internal report regarding alleged misconduct by Kipman, followed by instances of unwanted touching and alleged watching of a lewd VR video in front of peers in the office. The latest report comes in after an ex-Insider account on 25th May, where dozens of workforces told the media about Kipman's alleged behavior. In addition, three employees told Insider that they'd been warned not to leave females alone around Kipman.
Insider tried to reach Microsoft; however, the company neither confirmed nor denied the specific allegations of misconduct against women but denied that Kipman began chaperoning by human resources employees in meetings. An ex-executive of Microsoft was so distressed with Kipman's behavior they recommended the pandemic made things better as they never had to interact with him in person.
Microsoft Expects a Big HoloLens Win with the US Army
Microsoft counted on a massive win for the HoloLens headset with the American Army, which ordered over 120K IVAS devices for soldiers. That order will be worth $21.88Bn to the organization over the decade, but the Army has delayed the agreement, and a Pentagon audit wasn't too bullish on the idea.
A report from the DoD's Inspector General pdf April 2022 highlights, "Procuring IVAS without attaining user acceptance could result in wasting up to $21.88 billion in taxpayer funds to field a system that Soldiers may not want to use or use as intended". However, Guthrie adds in his memo that the US Army did approve an operational test last month; regardless of the HoloLens program state, Kipman is out.