Microsoft releases statement on the future of Hololens 2
Microsoft assures customers of continued support for Hololens 2 and related software.
According to Robin Seiler, COO and CVP for Windows and Devices, Microsoft will continue to produce and support the Hololens 2. Seiler mentions monthly updates for enterprise customers, as well as updates to Dynamics 365 Guides and Remote Assist.
Hololens and Dynamics 365 are key components for the industrial metaverse, Seiler writes.
Hololens 2 and then?
The fact that Seiler is speaking out now, saying she wants to "help provide clarity to this community about our commitment to HoloLens 2 and the broader Mixed Reality program," is likely related to the recent XR layoffs and other negative rumors about Microsoft's XR efforts.
It has been officially confirmed that the social VR platform AltspaceVR is being shut down and the XR interface team MRTK is being laid off.
In addition, it is rumored that Microsoft does not have a set roadmap for the further development of the Hololens and is said to have reduced the work on the military Hololens. Employees of the Hologram Studios are also said to be laid off.
Layoffs and rumors unsettle Microsoft XR customers
These rumors and Microsoft's cost-cutting measures around XR have made some companies nervous. They wonder if the investment in Hololens and Microsoft's XR ecosystem will be worth it, or if Microsoft will exit XR.
Seiler's note is likely aimed primarily at those in charge, reassuring them that at least their existing infrastructure with Hololens 2 will continue to be maintained.
However, Seiler's note does not provide a concrete outlook for the future: Microsoft hopes that the open-source MRTK software will be further developed by others and will continue to support it with the Hololens, according to Seiler.
The knowledge gained from AltspaceVR will be incorporated into Microsoft's XR networking software, Mesh. Microsoft Mesh is intended to be a platform "that offers the widest opportunity to all involved, including creators, partners, and customers," Seiler wrote.
She said the IVAS military headset is "a great example of technology sharing between commercial products and fit-for-purpose government programs." Seiler does not comment on the project's the bumpy progress of the project or rumors that work on IVAS is being scaled back.
Microsoft's new XR chief Scott Evans recently said that Microsoft is looking for an appropriate "design point" for a "meaningful update" to the Hololens hardware. Business customers don't need a successor yet, Stein said, but are looking for assurances that "one will be available at the right time." Stein did not say when that time might be.
Last summer, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said his company is focused on a software-led metaverse strategy.