Despite the growing interest in the metaverse, Microsoft would have abandoned the idea of launching a HoloLens 3. Internal tensions and a partnership with Samsung would be at the origin of this turnaround.
The horizon is darkening for the HoloLens and Microsoft no longer seems to know what to do with its headset. According to Business Insider, the technology giant has simply abandoned its plans for the HoloLens 3 and the future of the project appears uncertain. The American firm is struggling to put in place a coherent strategy in terms of mixed reality and tensions are appearing internally.
While the metaverse is on everyone’s lips and interests many companies, Microsoft has revised its plans. The group has entered into a partnership with Samsung around a new mixed reality device. A decision that would not be to the liking of some employees. Several sources mention the cessation of work on the HoloLens 3 and one of them even mentions an end to the journey for the HoloLens project as we know it. Furthermore, it appears that “Internal disagreements over Microsoft’s mixed reality strategy priorities sparked a wave of departures and raised doubts about its commitment to the HoloLens device”.
General public or military? The HoloLens is debating
In the corridors of the Redmond giant, the debate continues around the future of the project. Two visions clash with on the one hand the desire to see Microsoft turn to the general public by focusing in particular on the metaverse. This is the vision shared by Rubén Caballero, a former Apple executive whom Microsoft hired in 2020 to lead the engineering of HoloLens devices.
On the other hand, we would prefer to see Microsoft turning to businesses and the military by working on new solutions. This confusion would have led to the departure of 25 employees for the benefit of Meta (ex-Facebook) in 2021. Among them, we find figures who had been present in the company for more than 20 years.
Microsoft will have to clarify its strategy
On Microsoft’s side, a company spokesperson, Frank Shaw, is trying to defuse the situation. He assures that the HoloLens is not dead and that it does “essential part of the plans for [l’entreprise] for emerging categories like mixed reality and metaverse”. “We remain committed to HoloLens and the future development of HoloLens”, assured the company. She did not, however, wish to discuss the partnership with Samsung.
In the meantime, the giant which has just offered Activision Blizzard seems to be at an impasse and this weighs on this project born seven years ago. Promising, the HoloLens helmets have even managed to convince the American army. A contract estimated at nearly $22 billion was signed last year to equip soldiers with 120,000 HoloLens 2-derived headsets. A few months later, a Pentagon memo seen by Bloomberg mentions that the system IVAS (Integrated Visual Augmentation System) – adapted to the needs of the army – “has not yet demonstrated its ability to serve as combat goggles”.