In 2015 Microsoft presented its HoloLens, its augmented reality glasses. His approach was in many ways more ambitious than virtual reality, but the product—limited in scope and high in price—has never quite caught on. The HoloLens 2 was created with an enterprise orientation, but now the future of this device is in check.
What happened. Alex Kipman, who has been with Microsoft since 2001 and had previously worked on Windows and the Xbox, became head of the HoloLens project. It has now emerged that Microsoft has “let him go” from the company after receiving accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct with female Microsoft employees. That Kipman is being removed from the company and the HoloLens right now is especially significant, as the project is going through a difficult time.
The army is not convinced. The big gas for HoloLens 2 was a deal with the US military, which was to order up to 121,500 goggles for its soldiers in a 10-year program that would see Microsoft earn up to $21.9 billion in revenue. Dollars.
In April, those responsible for the army indicated that they were actually considering spending less than half, and doubts were also raised about the acceptance of this complement by the troops. Buying something that the soldiers would not be very willing to use later would be a disaster, and the agreement has not been confirmed. According to BloombergAlthough Microsoft has other customers for HoloLens, it needs that contract to remain in place to ensure the product scales sufficiently.
And now that. Kipman’s departure and the vague status of the contract with the military put the future of HoloLens in question. According to internal sources, the project will now be directed by Panos Panay, who has been the head of the hardware division and Surface devices for years. Jeff Teper, who was already responsible for the Teams team, will lead the software part, something logical if we take into account that precisely this idea of the metaverse that HoloLens enters would allow us to collaborate virtually with other people through these glasses and, of course, , of the videoconference with Teams tools..
HoloLens as a technology, not as a product. One of the possibilities for the future seems to be in licensing the HoloLens technology so that other manufacturers can apply it. Microsoft has such an agreement with Samsung, and while Kipman seemed to prefer HoloLens to be a Microsoft-exclusive product, Panos Panay might relax that strategy.