Magic Leap is running out of executives
Just before the launch of the Magic Leap 2, the company is experiencing an exodus of executives. That can’t bode well.
Magic Leap lost plenty of executive personnel this year, The Information reports. The departures include chief product officer Tracey Trewin and chief software and cloud officer Anuj Gosalia. The former Microsoft executives started in March of this year and left Magic Leap just six months later. Head of cloud products Randall Hand also took his hat in the fall.
Earlier this year, interface director Yannick Pellet left Magic Leap and was followed in June by chief technology officer Paul Greco, general manager Henk Vilestra and head of patents David Lundmark.
Ex-CEO is Rony Abovitz is now out altogether
The company’s website, which took on a more sober look as it refocused on enterprise and got rid of the Leaper logo that represented Magic Leap’s original focus on consumers, currently lists no hardware- or software-focused executives, except for design chief James Temple.
Why the executives turned their backs on Magic Leap is unknown. For the Magic Leap veterans among them, it could be related to Magic Leap founder Rony Abovitz’s departure from the company’s board in August, The Information writes.
The company’s founder stepped down as CEO in May 2020, likely due to pressure from investors, who took another financial stab at the ailing company. Replacing Abovitz was the more pragmatic Microsoft executive Peggy Johnson, who helped focus Magic Leap on business customers.
Hope rests on Magic Leap 2
Despite the departures, Magic Leap received another round of investment capital in October, worth $500 million. That brings the total flow into the company to date to $3.5 billion.
To survive, eventually, Magic Leap’s next AR glasses will need to be a success. The Magic Leap 2 will be released in mid-2022 and, according to initial images, will be smaller, lighter, and more powerful than the first, arguably flopped device. Thanks to dimming technology, the AR glasses should also be usable in bright environments and even work as VR glasses.
It’s not going to be easy for Magic Leap. The company has to prove that its hardware is suitable for professional application scenarios and hold its own against the strong competition from Microsoft. The research and development of the rival device Hololens is secured for years thanks to a multi-billion dollar contract with the military. Apple and Facebook are also investing billions in AR glasses development.