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HoloLens and Kinect lead dev Alex Kipman departs Microsoft following harassment allegations

Kipman has been accused of acting inappropriately towards women colleagues.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

June 9, 2022

2 Min Read
A photograph of Alex Kipman wearing a HoloLens headset

Microsoft executive Alex Kipman is leaving the company after 21 years following a series of misconduct allegations.

As reported by Business Insider, Kipman has been accused of acting inappropriately towards women colleagues and watching "VR porn" at the workplace.

Kipman is known in the games industry as the person who led development on the Xbox's ill-fated Kinect motion tracking accessory.

After the Kinect was laid to rest in 2017, Kipman helped create Microsoft's mixed-reality HoloLens headset. Internally, the departure is being described as mutual decision between Kipman and Microsoft cloud boss Scott Guthrie.

"Over the last several months, Alex Kipman and I have been talking about the team's path going forward," wrote Guthrie in an internal email seen by Business 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."

Numerous allegations against Kipman, however, paint a different picture. As noted by Business Insider, Kipman has been repeatedly accused of workplace misconduct, with "dozens" of current and former employees suggesting the long-serving exec has displayed a clear pattern of inappropriate behaviour.

For instance, Kipman is alleged to have watched an explicit VR video in front of employees, with one witness describing the incident as effectively being present while someone watched "VR porn."

Other misconduct allegations have also been levelled at Kipman, who is said to have sexually harassed women co-workers. One former executive who worked alongside Kipman claimed to have seen him rub a woman employee's shoulders while she "looked deeply uncomfortable."

According to three sources, managers also reportedly told their colleagues to ensure women weren't left alone around Kipman.

Kipman declined to comment on the allegations when approached by Business Insider. Microsoft also refused to comment on any specific allegations, but said that "every reported claim we receive is investigated, and for every claim found substantiated there is clear action taken."

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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