Alex Kipman used to be a senior employee at Microsoft. His position of power helped him stay in the tech giant even when many employees had complained about his abusive behavior.
He is a prominent example of how much a man can get away with if he is powerful enough.
Who is Alex Kipman
Alex Kipman, an engineer, was born in Brazil in 1979. He helped develop the Xbox Kinect and was the primary developer on Microsoft’s HoloLens smartglasses.
Kipman was born in 1979 in Curitiba. Kipman, the son of a Brazilian diplomat, was raised abroad. He learned to program the Atari 2600 when he was about seven or eight years old. Following that, he attended RIT, where he earned a degree in software engineering in 2001, before joining Microsoft to work on the company’s integrated development environment (IDE), Visual Studio. He began contributing to the development of Microsoft Windows in 2005. He oversaw the purchase of the Xbox Kinect technology from Israeli firm PrimeSense after joining the Xbox division in 2008. The finished product was ready two years later.
He was named to Time magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2011, alongside leaders, artists, innovators, heroes, and icons. “Software is the only art form in existence that is not constrained by the laws of physics,” he said later in an interview with Fast Company. He was named Invention of the Year by the Intellectual Property Owners Association in 2012. Kipman delivered the commencement address at his alma mater, the Rochester Institute of Technology, in 2013. (RIT).
Microsoft Corporation is a multinational technology company based in Redmond, Washington. The Windows operating system, the Microsoft Office suite, and the Internet Explorer and Edge web browsers are among Microsoft’s most well-known software products. The Xbox video game consoles and the Microsoft Surface lineup of touchscreen personal computers are its flagship hardware products. Microsoft was ranked No. 21 in the 2020 Fortune 500 list of the largest corporations in the United States based on total revenue.
Despite losing the majority of the total operating system market to Android in 2015, Microsoft maintained a commanding position in the markets for operating systems compatible with IBM PCs and office software suites. Furthermore, the company develops a wide range of consumer and business software for desktops, laptops, tablets, gadgets, and servers, including Internet search (via Bing), the digital services market (via MSN), mixed reality (HoloLens), cloud computing (Azure), and software development (Visual Studio).
Microsoft passed the trillion-dollar mark in April 2019, becoming the third public company in the United States to be valued at more than $1 trillion, following Apple and Amazon. By 2022, Microsoft will have the fourth-highest global brand valuation.
Microsoft has been under fire for its monopolistic business methods, as well as for issues with its software’s usability, reliability, and security.
Briefing about HoloLens 2
The Microsoft HoloLens 2 is an augmented reality (AR) headset designed and manufactured by the company. It is an improved version of the original Microsoft HoloLens. The first version of the device, the HoloLens 2 enterprise edition, was released on February 24, 2019. On May 2, 2019, a developer edition was released. The HoloLens 2 was then made available in limited quantities on November 7, 2019.
Alex Kipman, the lead HoloLens developer, announced the HoloLens 2 on February 24, 2019, at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain. On May 7, 2019, the Microsoft Build developer conference featured another demonstration of the HoloLens 2. It displayed a program created with the Unreal Game Engine there.
Microsoft developed and manufactured the HoloLens 2 mixed reality smart glasses, which combine waveguide and laser technology. The Integrated Visual Augmentation System, which is used by the US military, is a Hololens 2 derivative.
The HoloLens 2 was the first AR device. The screens on the HoloLens 2 are simple waveguide displays with a fixed focus of about two meters. Because of the fixed focus, the displays show the Vergence-Accommodation Conflict, which gives the spectator an unpleasant visual feeling.
HoloLens 2 developer Alex Kipman was fired after facing allegations of indecent behavior and verbal abuse
According to the report, Microsoft’s Alex Kipman, who led teams that created the company’s HoloLens augmented reality headset and the Kinect motion controller for Xbox and is one of Microsoft’s top technical fellows, has resigned following allegations of verbal abuse and sexual harassment. His departure comes after the same publication reported allegations that he engaged in inappropriate touching and comments toward female employees. He also reportedly fostered a culture that diminished women’s contributions.
The report cited Kipman’s alleged inappropriate behavior towards women at the company, including unwanted touching, as an example of misconduct by Microsoft executives, claiming that he got away with it despite promises by CEO Satya Nadella and other top executives to institute cultural changes.
More than 25 Microsoft employees wrote an internal report about Alex Kipman’s alleged misconduct, which included allegations of unwanted touching and one instance in which he allegedly watched a lewd VR film in front of coworkers in the workplace. Three employees told Insider that they’d been warned not to leave women alone around Kipman.
One former Microsoft official was so upset by Kipman’s actions that they claimed the COVID-19 outbreak had improved circumstances: “The best thing that happened, sadly, was the pandemic, So we never had to interact with him in person.”
Although Kipman did not respond to the request for comment. Kipman in denial of these allegations said “Don’t believe what you read on the internet.”
Microsoft on the Misconduct Allegation on Alex Kipman
Microsoft did not immediately confirm or deny the report, but reports confirmed it by obtaining an internal email from Microsoft cloud chief Scott Guthrie saying “We have agreed that now is the appropriate time for him to leave the company to pursue other opportunities,”.
The company intended to merge its Mixed Reality Hardware division with the Windows & Devices division. It is also integrating its Mixed Reality Presence and Collaboration group into Microsoft Teams. According to Bloomberg, Microsoft is currently deciding whether to continue developing its AR hardware. According to Microsoft Kipman will help the teams transition over the next two months.
A glimpse of the email by Scott Guthrie
What is a virtual abuse
Online abuse is behavior that has a threatening, intimidating, harassing, or humiliating effect on a person. Online abuse can harm you socially, psychologically, or even physically. It can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including stalking and sexual harassment.
Types of Virtual Abuse
Impacts of virtual abuse on a women
- Abuse on the internet can be devastating. It can have an impact on women’s happiness, mental health, confidence, relationships, and sense of safety.
- It can also cause women to withdraw from public conversations or self-censor in order to protect their privacy and safety.
- Online abuse can quickly grow in scope and severity. It can also be very personal.
- It’s critical to remember that online abuse is never acceptable; it reflects poorly on the person doing the abuse.
Abuse through Virtual Reality (VR)
With the ability to create custom avatars, no barriers to sex offenders using VR, and the ability to hide behind the anonymity of the internet, it’s no surprise that sexual harassment is a recurring issue in VR.
Recently, a Meta platform beta tester spoke out about being groped, paving the way for other victims to speak out about indecent exposure, grooming, stalking, and even the exchange of child exploitation material. With the ongoing issue of harassment in VR, it’s critical to focus on how one can protect yourself or their child on these platforms.
Case summary of the misbehavior shown by Microsoft senior employee Alex Kipman
- Alex Kipman, Microsoft’s HoloLens leader, is leaving the company after a report revealed alleged inappropriate behavior.
- Kipman, who joined Microsoft in 2001, was accused of sexual harassment of female employees in an Insider report late last month by current and former employees.
- Kipman will assist the teams in their transition over the next two months.
Beware of people like Kipman and A. Chaudhry who use their position of power to abuse others.