Microsoft claims “HoloLens is doing great” after a report earlier this week revealed HoloLens 3 may have been canceled. Business Insider reported on Wednesday that Microsoft has scrapped plans for HoloLens 3 in recent months and that it could be “the end of the road” for the headset. Microsoft has reportedly agreed to partner with Samsung on a new mixed reality device, a move that has apparently “inflamed divisions” that exist in Microsoft’s mixed reality teams.
The software giant has been working on a custom HoloLens headset for the US Army in a contract that could be worth up to $21.88 billion over 10 years. The headset is supposed to use augmented reality and machine learning to enable a “life-like mixed reality training environment,” but the US Army has pushed back the date it plans to field Microsoft’s custom headset. Business Insider reports that the headset is behind schedule and “plagued by quality and performance problems.”
— Alex Kipman (@akipman) February 3, 2022
Anonymous Microsoft employees speaking to Business Insider claim there is confusion and uncertainty over the future of HoloLens inside the division that is run by Alex Kipman, technical fellow at Microsoft. “Don’t believe what you read on the internet,” claims Kipman in a reply to a tweet referencing the report. “HoloLens is doing great and if you search said internet they also said we had cancelled HoloLens 2… which last I checked we shipped with success.”
It has now been more than seven years since Microsoft first announced its HoloLens headset, but the company has seen a number of high profile HoloLens employee exits to competitors. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that more than 70 Microsoft employees on the HoloLens team have left the company in the past year, with more than 40 joining Meta.
Meta, formerly Facebook, is aggressively pursuing the dream of a metaverse, and it’s something Microsoft wants to build, too. “We feel very well positioned to be able to catch what I think is essentially the next wave of the internet,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella about the metaverse last month. “I think the next wave of the internet will be a more open world where people can build their own metaverse worlds, whether they’re organizations, game developers, or anyone else.”