Brazilian ‘Microsoft star’ is fired after accusations of moral and sexual harassment – Link

Kipman was present in several Microsoft projects related to virtual reality

*Updated on 06/09 at 12:30 pm

Alex Kipman, Brazilian responsible for creating several products at Microsoft, was fired from the company this Tuesday, 7, after accusations of harassment and misconduct within the company. Kipman has led important projects such as the Kinect device for Xbox and the Hololens VR headset.

When contacted by the report, Microsoft did not comment on the harassment allegations, saying: “Alex Kipman will leave the company to pursue other interests, after spending the next two months helping with the transition.” Kipman has yet to comment on the matter – his last Twitter post is from May 23. The reporter tried to contact him, but was unsuccessful. The text will be updated if Kipman comments on the case.

Microsoft justified the departure by saying, “To accelerate business growth, build leadership capability, and further align Microsoft’s work on the Metaverse going forward, Microsoft has made the following organizational changes: The Mixed Reality Hardware (IVAS and HoloLens) will join the Windows + Devices organization; the Mixed Reality Presence and Collaboration teams will join the Teams organization.”

Information about Kipman’s departure was initially released by the website. Business Insider. Subsequently, the website geek wire displayed an alleged internal Microsoft email, sent to employees, that communicates the termination. According to the website, the person responsible for the internal warning to the company was Scott Guthrie, head of Microsoft’s artificial intelligence and cloud division. The document, however, does not cite the allegations of harassment.

“Over the past few months, Alex Kipman and I have talked about the team’s path going forward. We have mutually decided that this is the right time for him to leave the company to pursue other opportunities,” Guthrie said in the email.

In a statement sent to the Estadão, Microsoft said that in addition to joining the Mixed Reality Devices areas, which includes Hololens, with the Windows + Devices organization, the Mixed Reality Presence and Collaboration teams will join the Teams organization. Kipman will remain with the company for another two months to help transition sectors.

On May 25th, the Business Insider published another story in which it accused Kipman and other Microsoft executives of moral and sexual harassment within the company. According to the report, sources said the engineer often made the work environment a hostile place for women. The website said it had contacted Kipman, but that he declined to comment on the allegations.

The repercussion of the case also made Microsoft comment on the matter. Without citing any of those involved, the company told the website eurogamer that observes the conduct of employees and applies “punishments” when necessary.

“Every complaint we receive is investigated and for every substantiated complaint we find, there is clear action to be taken. This disciplinary action can range from termination, demotion, loss of pay or bonuses, official reprimand, mandatory training, mentoring or a combination of some of these,” explained Microsoft.

In the May report of business insider, there is a report of a test situation with Hololens, in which Kipman used a video of scantily clad young women in a “pillow fight” scene. virtual reality.

Currently, Kipman was responsible for metaverse-oriented product development at Microsoft.

“I appreciate the tremendous insight Alex has provided to Microsoft over the years and all he has done to advance our Metaverse offerings. Alex is committed to helping teams with the transition process over the next two months and ensuring success before pursuing the what’s next for him,” Guthrie added in the statement.

Career

Born in Curitiba, Paraná, Kipman graduated in Software Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology, in New York. At Microsoft since 2002, his two main creations at the company were Kinect, a motion-recognizing camera for video games, and Hololens, the company’s virtual reality glasses.

Under his leadership, Kinect has sold approximately 35 million units since its launch, but despite its innovative impact, it has been unable to take off as a commercial product. Hololens has entered into debate at the company about its continuity, especially after the metaverse concept spread across tech companies.

The Brazilian was also present in several of the company’s projects related to virtual reality, such as Minecraft Earth and in the development of the Xbox area. In addition, Kipman also had a stint on the Windows development team.