Rubén Caballero, the ex-Apple executive Microsoft hired in 2020 to run device engineering in mixed reality and AI, appears to have quietly left the company.
Caballero is no longer listed in Microsoft’s internal directory and has not been seen around the office or on Teams chats, according to a person familiar with the situation. Microsoft has not announced his departure, internally or publicly, and Caballero’s LinkedIn profile still lists his Microsoft role as “present.”
“Through both hardware and software solutions, Microsoft remains committed to mixed reality and the metaverse by bringing the physical and digital together in open, accessible, and secure ways for our customers and partners,” Microsoft’s spokesperson Frank Shaw said in response to BI’s request about Caballero’s departure.
Microsoft also recently published a post stating its commitment to the HoloLens 2 device and mixed reality.
Caballero worked for Apple from 2005 to 2014, including a stint as president of engineering. Microsoft hired Caballero in 2020 to work on devices such as HoloLens in the company’s mixed reality and AI organization. He was also tapped in 2020 as a technical advisor to hardware startup Humane. He didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Since then, Microsoft has canceled several hardware projects to focus more investments on artificial intelligence. Notably, longtime hardware boss Panos Panay, to whom Caballero reported, left Microsoft in September and took a job at Amazon.
Insiders who have worked closely with Panay told BI he had been unhappy with recent changes in the Windows + Devices division he ran. Windows licensing and the unit’s hardware business had been underperforming relative to the company’s financial projections, these people said at the time.
Caballero joined Panay’s Windows and Devices organization in 2022, and Microsoft has whittled down some hardware teams since then.
Caballero was known for a focus on consumers and the metaverse, a once-hyped new mode of computing that fell out of favor to some degree as tech companies like Microsoft set their sights on the future of generative AI.
Are you a Microsoft employee or do you have insight to share?
Contact reporter Ashley Stewart via the encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-425-344-8242) or email (email@example.com).
Read the full article here