Microsoft's decision to lay off 60 Israeli contract workers hints at Hololens efforts

hololens project x-ray
It should come as no surprise that Microsoft uses a lot of contract employees to chew through all of the work cut out for it. It should be even less of a surprise that a lot of them aren’t located in the company’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington. What is a bit surprising is that somewhere in the vicinity of 60 employees have been moved or laid off from the Israel-based workforce that has been putting in work on the upcoming Hololens.

News of the layoffs comes from one such affected employee who tipped off the Israeli website Ynet.co.il. The tipster goes on to explain that 30 contract workers had been laid off, while another 30 Microsoft employees were given one month to find an open position within the company before facing a similar fate.

The reason for the layoffs abroad, according to the source, is that Microsoft has decided to pursue production of the Hololens in the United States using a different technology from what the Israelis were pursuing. There have been some initial limitations of the field of view in the early versions of the Hololens, and rumor has it Microsoft is looking for a way to expand that aspect of the product. Whether the layoffs are in fact related to this is speculation, but it’s a pretty safe bet that field of view improvement will be a focus of Microsoft’s ongoing efforts.

The Hololens isn’t far from an early 2016 release for developers. Because it will carry a hefty price tag of $3,000, it’s likely that those who pick one up will be expecting an early rendition. However, if the final version is going to have a wider field of view, it’s something those devs will want to have in their hands from day one with the device.

Microsoft’s augmented reality headset remains shrouded in mystery, and a lot of the important details are likely to remain shrouded until the Hololens starts finding its way out into the world. When it does, it will either change the way a lot of people use their computers, or possibly be an expensive and very visible flop — but these 60 layoffs may be an indication of which way the project is headed.

Emerging Tech

Global Good wants to rid the world of deadly diseases with lasers and A.I.

Global Good, a collaboration between Intellectual Ventures and Bill Gates, aims to eradicate diseases that kill children in developing nations. It tackles difficult problems with high-tech prototypes.
Smart Home

Qualcomm goes all-in on Amazon Alexa voice control with a new development kit

Qualcomm is releasing an early valentine for smart home device manufacturers. The new development kit for its Wi-Fi networks integrates the Amazon Alexa Voice Service to enable voice control in more devices.
Gaming

Over 16,000 Apex Legends cheaters have already been banned by Respawn

Respawn Entertainment revealed that it has already banned over 16,000 cheaters in Apex Legends in the less than two weeks since its release. The developer may be working on an in-game feature to report cheaters.
Computing

The HoloLens 2 will be announced at MWC. Here's what we know about it so far

The HoloLens 2 is ripe for an announcement. Here's what Microsoft has revealed so far, what's likely in store for the next generation HoloLens, and everything that we know about this mixed reality headset.
Computing

RTX might be expensive, but the 16 series could have the best Nvidia Turing GPUs

Set to debut at a step below the RTX 2060 on the price and performance spectrums, the GTX 1660 Ti and its other 16-series brethren could be Nvidia's killer mid-range cards of 2019 — especially with Tensor Core-powered DLSS.
Computing

Ryzen 3000 chips will be powerful, and they might be launched as early as July

AMD's upcoming Ryzen 3000 generation of CPUs could be the most powerful processors we've ever seen, with higher core counts, greater clock speeds, and competitive pricing. Here's what we know so far, based on both leaks and the recent…
Product Review

Razer just made our favorite gaming laptop even more powerful than before

The Razer Blade, our favorite gaming laptop, is now more powerful than ever before. That’s thanks to the new Nvidia RTX graphics cards inside. Do they help Razer retain its edge over the competition?
Computing

With no plans for merging operating systems, Apple opts to combine apps instead

Apple is working on combining all of the the apps it offers to iPhone, iPad, and Mac users by 2021. App developers will soon be able to build and submit one version of their apps to be used by Apple product users.
Gaming

These are the coolest games you can play on your Google Chrome browser right now

Not only is Google Chrome a fantastic web browser, it's also a versatile gaming platform that you can access from just about anywhere. Here are a few of our favorite titles for the platform.
Computing

Amazon takes $200 off Apple’s latest 13-inch MacBook Air with retina display

Amazon is taking $200 off Apple's latest MacBook Air. This MacBook Air has 13-inch retina display, a built-in FaceTime HD camera, and that classic lightweight wedge shape the Air is loved and known for.
Deals

Samsung drops a solid $100 discount on the Chromebook Pro

If you're in the market for a new laptop, but can't afford to drop $1,000 on one of the best models out there, Chromebooks are an excellent option. Right now, Samsung is offering $100 off the Samsung Chromebook Pro.
Computing

Lost your router? Here's how to find its IP address to help track it down

Changing the login information for your router isn't always easy, that's why so many have that little card on the back. But in order to use it, you need to know where to go. Here's how to find the IP address of your router.
Computing

Between Intel and AMD, these are the best gaming CPUs at every price

What are the best processors for gaming you can buy? You don't need to spend a fortune to get an amazing gaming CPU and now that AMD is competitive again, there are more choices than ever.
Computing

Our favorite Chrome themes add some much-needed pizzazz to your boring browser

Sometimes you just want Chrome to show a little personality and ditch the grayscale for something a little more lively. Lucky for you, we've sorted through the Chrome Web Store to find best Chrome themes available.