Microsoft Denies They are Buying Microvision

The VR/AR Association had a live webinar on May 12, 2020 [today as of this writing]. In the Q&A portion of that webinar, Alison Fehling of Microsoft was asked in the chat many times about the rumors of Microsoft buying Microvision. She first responded that she would check with Microsoft’s PR department and give an update shortly. She followed with the follow denying the rumors.

I just heard from our PR team [at Microsoft] and apparently it is not true. It is [only] a rumor that we are buying Microvision. That is all I have at the moment. Sorry, probably disappointing to a lot of you. Yeah, no truth to the rumor. We don’t have anything to add at the moment. Hopefully, that will take care of a lot of these questions.

So the information reported by The Florida Independent on May 10th that was in turn based on a story by TodaysFive story on May 8th, 2012 [a story they subsequently changed — see here] was apparently false. This report is a followup to my report on May 11th reporting on The Florida Independent story.

Karl Guttag
Karl Guttag
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  1. Sorry, but that is a joke, isn’t it? Such deals will be done on management level and only very few people are involved. No chance that a “PR team” will know it before a deal will be announced. It was even stupid to ask such things in a webinar.

    • I ten to agree with your comment. I was expecting the answer to be blanked “we don’t discuss rumors” and was very surprised when she said that she was waiting on their PR department. I was even more surprised when the response was to rather clearly deny rather than a “we don’t discuss rumors “.

      Maybe Microsoft felt they were compelled to say it was a rumor. Based on the way the Microsoft person answered the question, it seemed like she was prepared to get it and was planning on answering it but just hadn’t been told what to say yet. Maybe they had seen the questions in the chat and had forwarded them to the PR department and then said, “we will get back to you.” They seemed to flat deny it, but that could be a “translation” problem.

      I do find it funny that they will deny that Microsoft is buying Microvision but will not admit that Microvision had anything to do with Holololens.

    • Not true. PR teams are in the know about nearly everything such that they can stop speakers from saying anything that would be considered illegal for SEC and Stock purposes.

      • Maybe the corporate PR teams and even then only select members will know much. Even then, I would think they won’t know about very sensitive discussions until the deal is nearly done. Even then, they can only control what they know about in advance.

        Based on the way the speaker handled the question and the relatively short time before giving an answer, it looks like something was set up with Microsoft’s PR in advance.

        As I wrote, I was very surprised they didn’t give the boilerplate “we don’t comment on rumors.” And you can see why because you can only get yourself in trouble. There could be some secret deal going one that the PR department has not been told about yet and you set yourself up for having to correct the statement before you would otherwise need to announce it. Given little upside and lots of ways to have downsides, the usual course of action is to stonewall.

  2. Could be trying to downplay it to lower the share price
    Unless… they have seen some potential MicroLEDs with competing luminance

    • Microvison’s share price was 22-cents a month ago and a market cap of less than $50M. I have heard that Microsoft has spent several billion dollars on Hololens (on the order of Magic Leap). Why play around over chump change relative to the size of the program if the price of Microvision was the issue?

      I think the lack of a buyout may point to a couple of things:
      1) Their (assumed but never formally admitted) license with Microvision gives Microsoft everything they think they will ever need at a royalty rate that does not both them.
      2) As you suggested, they think there are other technologies they will be using in the future so the laser scanning is a stop-gap

  3. Why do you say that Microvision is in Hololens? It’s pretty clear they used Microvision parts to prototype, and then designed their own improved scan system for the product. Microsoft even said outright that they own the IP.

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