Alex Kipman, the Microsoft executive that led development on both the HoloLens augmented reality headset and the Kinect motion controller, has resigned after being accused of verbal abuse and sexual harassment, Insider reported Wednesday. Kipman had been with Microsoft for 21 years.
Kipman is said to have informed his bosses at Microsoft on Tuesday. Microsoft cloud boss Scott Guthrie is planning a reorganization, and he and Kipman agreed it was time for the latter to move on.
"Over the last several months, Alex Kipman and I have been talking about the team's path going forward," Guthrie said in an email to Insider. "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."
Insider reported last month that Kipman repeatedly behaved inappropriately toward women employees, including touching them in ways that made them uncomfortable. He is also said to have watched a VR video in a meeting with several employees in which women engaged in a sexualized pillow fight. One employee present described it to Insider as "VR porn."
Microsoft previously declined to confirm or deny the details of Insider's report, including those regarding Kipman. He was one of three executives named in Insider reporting as "golden boys," executives believed immune to consequences despite management styles and actions that many in the company viewed as inappropriate. The other two executives are Terry Myerson and Tom Keane. Myerson left the company in 2018, but Keane remains corporate vice president of Microsoft's cloud-computing business, Azure.