Microsoft HoloLens

Microsoft yesterday announced that it is restructuring its Mixed Reality organization. There are two key changes:

  1. Microsoft is splitting the organization into two: Mixed Reality hardware teams which include both HoloLens and IVAS projects will join the Windows + Devices (W+D) organization under Panos Panay. Mixed Reality presence and collaboration services, including the new Microsoft Mesh offering will be joining Teams organization within the Experiences + Devices division under Jeff Teper.
  2. Alex Kipman will be leaving the company after the two months transition period. Recently, Business Insider reported alleged inappropriate behavior by Kipman toward women at the company. We don’t know whether Microsoft forced Kipman to leave following this report by Business Insider.

You can read Scott Guthrie’s full email sent to employees below:

Today I am announcing some organizational changes within Cloud + AI.

The Mixed Reality team delivers Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) products and solutions, including HoloLens, IVAS, and our Microsoft Mesh service, that are key elements of Microsoft’s overall Metaverse work.

The team has made great progress with our Mixed Reality work this past year, and reached two critical milestones this past month:

• Our work with the U.S. Army and the IVAS project (Integrated Visual Augmentation System) to build a next-generation solution where every soldier will use a mixed reality headset, was officially approved by the U.S. Army to enter the Operational Test (OT) stage.  This is a huge milestone for the team, and the culmination of years of hard work.

• At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Microsoft and our partner Accenture unveiled an immersive experience built with our new Microsoft Mesh SDK that allows end-users to meet in a trusted metaverse space and collaborate on global issues such as sustainability.  The experience was extremely well received with great feedback from attendees, and we now have tremendous demand from customers who want to build similar experiences.

These are significant milestones on our path to build even richer mixed reality hardware devices as well as the underlying software collaboration platform to enable more immersive Metaverse experiences.

Accelerating and aligning Microsoft’s work on the Metaverse going forward

We are making some organizational changes today that will align and further accelerate our overall Metaverse efforts as a company this coming fiscal year.

Mixed Reality Hardware teams will join the Windows + Devices organization

Grace Hwang, Ruben CaballeroScott Evans, Ashraf Michail, David Marra and the Mixed Reality hardware teams they lead are responsible for designing and delivering transformative mixed reality hardware products.  These include both our HoloLens and IVAS projects.

With today’s announcement, they will join the Windows + Devices (W+D) organization under Panos Panay.  This move will integrate our Mixed Reality hardware teams as part of Microsoft’s broader end-user device hardware organization.  Both HoloLens and IVAS are built using Windows, and this move further aligns our client platform efforts.

Mixed Reality Presence and Collaboration teams will join the Teams organization

Carlos Aguilar, Miguel SusffalichNikhil Subramanian and the teams they lead are responsible for delivering the next generation of Mixed Reality presence and collaboration services, including our new Microsoft Mesh offering.

With today’s announcement, they will join the Teams organization within the Experiences + Devices division under Jeff Teper.  This move will strengthen and further integrate Microsoft’s collaboration efforts going forward.  Creating compelling Metaverse collaboration experiences – especially in Teams – is critical, and the Microsoft Mesh SDK is increasingly becoming an integral component to deliver this.

Alex Kipman to leave the company and pursue other opportunities

Over the last several months, Alex Kipman and I have been talking about the team’s path going forward.  We have mutually decided that this is the right time for him to leave the company to pursue other opportunities.  I appreciate the tremendous vision Alex has provided to Microsoft over the years, and all that he has done to advance our Metaverse offerings.  Alex is committed to helping the teams with the transition process over the next two months and ensuring success before pursuing what is next for him.

In Closing

I deeply value the significant contributions that the Mixed Reality team have made over the last few years.  The work they are delivering will enable amazing products and rich applications that will change how we communicate, work, and learn going forward.

These changes are effective immediately and will accelerate business growth and build leadership capability.  I’m very much looking forward to the progress the new combined teams make in the year ahead.