With rumors flying that Microsoft had canceled the development of its mixed reality product, Hololens, Alex Kipman, who is in charge of the division within the company, has come out to dispel them. According to him, believe everything you see on the internet at your own peril.
In a tweet using his personal account, Kipman replied to another tweet begging Microsoft not to abandon the HoloLens because of its practical usefulness. The fan posted, “Hi @akipman if that is true, well we need a waterproof, w/ thermal sights derivative, for use in search and rescue here in Norway will be useful for our @rodekorsnorge and tbh for a lot of ppl venturing outside in winter. Just don’t terminate hololens!”
To which Kipman said, “don’t believe what you read on the internet. #HoloLens is doing great and if you search said internet they also said we had cancelled #HoloLens2… which last I checked we shipped with success [)-)”
Not believing everything on the internet is sound advice because as the HoloLens boss pointed out, there were such rumors about the HoloLens 2, which did ship.
News reported by the Business Insider indicated that Microsoft had abandoned the effort for the HoloLens 3 in recent months, spelling the end of the road for the untethered headset. The media house also reported that Microsoft was in talks with Samsung to develop a whole new mixed reality device.
However, Microsoft’s spokesperson Frank Shaw refuted the claims and insisted that the head-worn computational device is crucial to his company’s roadmap for the metaverse and mixed reality. Shaw maintained that Microsoft was committed to the future development of HoloLens. But he didn’t address the report about Microsoft teaming up with Samsung.
Business Insider believed that the deal with Samsung has caused internal rife within the mixed reality team as factions debated whether to focus on hardware or create a metaverse operating system for other hardware companies to use, much like how the Windows OS works.
HoloLens has always been a polarizing product for Microsoft. For example, some of its staff had kicked against the company making the headsets available to the military. Also, there is a hot debate on whether Microsoft should continue its focus on enterprise applications or make HoloLens available for consumers. The former Apple employee who now heads the device engineering for the hardware prefers to focus on consumers (which is not surprising given his Apple heritage) and the metaverse.
Making matters worse, Microsoft had hemorrhaged mixed reality staff to Meta in 2021, including long-time employees. About 100 employees have taken the way out, apparently in response to the loss of clarity.
Microsoft remains invested in the metaverse, with the CEO Satya Nadella declaring at the last earnings call that the company is well-positioned to catch the next wave of the internet. The $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard will also provide the building blocks for its ambitions for the metaverse. Nadella commented, “Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms.”