In late May, current and former Microsoft employees accused Alex Kipman of inappropriate
behavior toward female coworkers in an Insider report. Alex Kipman had been with the
Redmond, Washington-based software company since 2001.
According to two sources familiar with the situation, he was the public face of Microsoft’s HoloLens endeavor, and his departure comes at a critical time for the project, as the company considers whether or not to continue building its own AR technology.
Microsoft’s HoloLens at a glance
At a Windows presentation in 2015, Microsoft presented what was then the top-secret
HoloLens project to considerable hoopla, displaying prototype applications such as 3-D
Minecraft, which allowed users to blast through walls and coffee tables to expose lava and
caves, as well as a holographic conferencing system. However, the company has never been
able to bring the headset’s price below a few thousand dollars, and as a result, it is mostly
focused on business applications rather than consumer ones.
The changes come as Microsoft awaits the results of a $21.9 billion contract that will determine
whether there is enough demand for the HoloLens to justify its development. The company had
agreed to provide a customized version of the head-worn device to the US Army as part of a
A 10-year arrangement that included up to 121,500 goggles, as well as replacement parts,
logistics, and program management support.
However, the project has not gone smoothly, and the Army announced in April that it may only
spend half of the total budget. Last month, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth expressed
confidence that the system’s faults, known as IVAS, had been ironed out.
Alex Kipman’s resignation
Kipman is retiring after 21 years with the organization. Kipman’s resignation is part of — or, more likely, the result of — yet another reorganization at Microsoft’s Cloud and AI division.
Kipman worked for Microsoft’s Windows and Xbox teams before joining HoloLens and was one
of the company’s longest-serving workers. According to the Insider story, veteran leaders at the
company, such as Kipman, were allowed to engage in verbal and sexual harassment of