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Microsoft’s HoloLens Chief Leaves Following Misconduct Allegations
Alex Kipman, the executive responsible for Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality (AR) headset, will reportedly leave the Seattle, Washington-based tech titan amid allegations of toxic workplace behavior.
Microsoft's Alex Kipman discusses the Microsoft HoloLens during the 2016 Microsoft Build Developer Conference on March 30, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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3 minute read

Alex Kipman, the executive responsible for Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality (AR) headset, will reportedly leave the Seattle, Washington-based tech titan amid allegations of toxic workplace behavior.

Kipman, who joined Microsoft in 2001, currently serves as a Technical Fellow for AI and Mixed Reality in the company’s Cloud and AI Group. He has been a prominent executive at Microsoft as his mixed reality project is a central part of its metaverse play and the linchpin of a contract with the U.S. Army that is worth up to $22 billion.

In an internal email obtained by GeekWire, EVP of Cloud and AI Scott Guthrie wrote, “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.”

Kipman will remain with the company for the next two months and the teams that he oversees will be reorganized under other divisions. The Mixed Reality Hardware teams will join Microsoft’s Windows + Devices organization and the Mixed Reality Presence and Collaboration teams will join the Teams organization.

Microsoft's org chart 1/18/2021

The decision to part ways closely follows a May 2022 exposé by Insider that laid out alleged toxic behavior by Kipman and others, including claims that he demonstrated a virtual reality (VR) headset in a meeting by displaying sexually explicit content. The meeting was far from an isolated incident. A group of employees allegedly put together a report late last year detailing a laundry list of complaints against the AR/VR executive.

In a statement provided to Insider, a Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment on specific incidents but stated, "Every reported claim we receive is investigated, and for every claim found substantiated there is clear action taken. This disciplinary action can range from termination, to demotion, loss of pay or bonus, official reprimand, mandatory training, coaching, or combination of some of these."

As GeekWire notes, Microsoft is known to often make organizational changes around this time of year, as July 1 marks the beginning of its next fiscal year.

While Kipman’s departure could be a pre-planned decision that coincides with Microsoft’s fiscal calendar, it is more likely that Kipman was pushed out following Insider’s report as CEO Satya Nadella has publicly promised to end Microsoft's tolerance for "talented jerks."

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