Image: Courtney Bacon / U.S. Army
In the wake of the economic and technology crisis, Microsoft is planning to cut 10,000 jobs. The Hololens team is also affected.
According to Bloomberg, Microsoft wants to reduce the work on the Hololens variant for the US army (IVAS). It is not known to what extent. Bloomberg refers to sources familiar with the project.
Most recently, the US Congress cancelled a $400 million contract for the combat headset because of technical and ergonomic problems.
The total order for the military Hololens would be worth up to $22 billion over ten years. But Microsoft’s technology has so far not met the needs of the soldiers. They complained of eye pain and headaches, among other things.
The collaboration between Microsoft and the Army began in 2018 with an initial Hololens order and has since experienced numerous setbacks. According to a Bloomberg source, it is possible that Microsoft will not be able to fulfil the contract in full.
Microsoft cuts costs – also for XR
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced in a memo to the team on Wednesday that 10000 Microsoft employees will be laid off by the end of March. The cost of the severance packages is expected to be $1.2 billion. Nadella mentioned “changes in the hardware portfolio” in connection with the job cuts.
Just like the military Hololens, the commercial variant seems to be in limbo. Hololens co-inventor Alex Kipman left Microsoft in 2022 after more than 21 years with the company.
Numerous leaks surrounding the departure did not shed a good light on the internal state of the Hololens team. High-ranking employees moved to Meta and Google.
Most recently, there were rumours that Microsoft has no roadmap to speak of for Hololens. A possible cooperation with Samsung is said to be off the table.
Official statements about Microsoft’s XR plans come from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who talked about a software-led Metaverse strategy last year. Microsoft publishes Office software for Meta’s XR headsets and offers Mesh, an infrastructure platform for networking various VR and AR devices with regular computers.
Microsoft’s new XR chief Scott Evans held out the prospect of an “update” for Hololens hardware in December 2022. He did not mention Hololens 3.