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Magic Leap Hires Top Microsoft Executive as C.E.O.

  • July 10, 2020

Ms. Johnson, a former executive at Qualcomm who joined Microsoft six years ago, compared the spatial technology’s promise to the early days of cellular technology and cloud computing.

“It just feels to me that it’s at that same moment in time,” she said. The opportunity is even bigger during the coronavirus pandemic, with people working remotely and traveling less, she said, adding that possible uses for the technology include job training, in the medical field, and industrial automation.

Ms. Johnson is the latest experienced female or executive of color brought in to turn around a struggling company, a phenomenon that researchers have called the “glass cliff.” Last year, Linda Kozlowski, an executive at Etsy and Evernote, took over the flagging meal kit service Blue Apron. In 2018, Jill Soltau, former head of Jo-Ann Stores, was brought in to turn around J.C. Penney.

Magic Leap, which Mr. Abovitz founded in Plantation, Fla., in 2010, has amassed nearly $3.5 billion in venture funding from investors like Google, Alibaba, Fidelity and Andreessen Horowitz, valuing it at $6.4 billion, according to PitchBook.

But after its headset sales flopped, it changed course. Other makers of augmented and virtual reality headsets, including Google Glass, Facebook’s Oculus VR and Microsoft’s HoloLens, have faced similar challenges, with some shifting directions to business applications like manufacturing.

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