back to article High-flying Microsoft exec jumps to Magic Leap as CEO. No, we haven't got that the wrong way round

Augmented-reality flop Magic Leap has received an unexpected credibility boost: a top Microsoft exec has jumped ship, and will take over as CEO in August. Peggy Johnson is a key member of Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella’s senior leadership team, having been recruited from Qualcomm in 2014. She runs business development …

  1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    Show me the money

    Realistically at 58 she is at the end of her career. She's probably either doing it as a vanity project (CEO at last!), or doing it for sh*ts and giggles, or for a whopping pay deal. Probably elements of all 3.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Show me the money

      Massive golden parachute/handshake would be my guess.

      Come in, sit around twiddling her thumbs for a year or so while the owners figure out the actual direction they want to take the company, and then bail with a large lump sum in the low to mid eight figure range ... Note that I am in no way disparaging her, if in fact that is what she has been offered! Who wouldn't accept a deal like that‽

      1. Potemkine!

        Re: Show me the money

        Who wouldn't accept a deal like that‽

        Someone with basic dignity and sense of honour?

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Show me the money

      From Rony Abovitz's point of view: Elizabeth Holmes brought in loads of investment money and caught the blame for wire fraud. Here is someone who can do both much better.

      Peggy Johnson should really consider the baker's advice:

      The Beaver's best course was, no doubt, to procure

      ⁠A second-hand dagger-proof coat—

      So the Baker advised it—and next, to insure

      ⁠Its life in some Office of note:

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Show me the money

      And why not? There must be some of the $375m left on the table even if the original $3b's gone.

    4. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: Show me the money

      She's probably either doing it as a vanity project (CEO at last!)

      Seems by far and away the most likely reason. If you're not the lead dog the view never changes.

      or for a whopping pay deal

      They won't be paying her more than Microsoft, not once all the oh so lucrative stock options get added into the mix. Her 5 year options will have more than doubled and she probably has several millions of those. Money is unlikely to be the driver at her time of life and with her likely wealth, she could probably spend 100k a week and never run out of money.... 100k a month otherwise... either way, latte's only cost so much.

      1. cyberdemon

        Re: Show me the money

        Stock options? At Magic Leap??

        A company inflated by beeeeelion-dollar investments that has nothing remotely approaching a product..?

        Maybe if she and her Microsoft chums open short positions, crash it to the ground, and then buy it for the IP?

        Illegal, maybe, but hey we're Microsoft.

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: Show me the money

          Stock options? At Magic Leap??

          No, stock options at MSFT. They're waaaay up over whenever they'd have been issued and I can imagine she'll be forfeiting many more when she leaves.

    5. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: Show me the money

      Surely: Microsoft to buy Magic Leap, she'll get a huge payoff and end up back at Microsoft.

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Re: Show me the money

        I should have read the comments first - I wasn't anywhere near the only person to come to this conclusion.

        Will the USA's equivalent of the M&M Commission step in when the obvious happens?

  2. osakajin Bronze badge

    Could be ms wants a piece of that pie a la Nokia?

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      It occurs to me that she may be on an internal reconnaissance to see if anything there is compatible with or will add anything useful to hololens and then possibly reccomend a sell out to Microsith.

      1. steviebuk Silver badge

        True but wouldn't that be illegal?

        1. cyberdemon

          > But wouldn't that be illegal?

          Hahaha, that's what I thought about Stephen Elop (see post below)

          You'd have thought so..

          Microsoft exec joins as new CEO of Nokia. Immediately announces that Nokia will be ditching the successful line of Linux (Debian)-based phones (N900, N950) and Maemo OS that they spent the last 5+ years developing - it would have been a serious competitor to iOS and Android.. N900 was the best phone you could wish for.

          Also they would be ditching their Symbian platform, and most people working on Phones for Nokia would be laid off. From now on, Nokia will only sell Windows Phones, because that's the future.

          Anyone would think that Microsoft were trying to kill off two competitors to Windows Mobile, by driving Nokia into the ground with an inside man as their CEO, and as a triple-whammy, dump their share price so they could buy them at a bargain price.

          Shurely that would be illegal, until they did it.

        2. ST Silver badge

          > [ ... ] wouldn't that be illegal?

          The concept of illegal is very fuzzy along that US-101 strip of highway running between San Francisco and San Jose.

          A year or so after she starts her new CEO gig, Microsoft decides to acquire MagicLeap's IP for an undisclosed sum. Not material to Microsoft's balance sheet. It's all about the VR experience.

          Nothing illegal here, nothing to see. Please move along.

    2. lafnlab

      The article reminded of Stephen Elop who was supposed to rescue Nokia, but ended up selling it to Microsoft.

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Loose Lips Sink Ships .... in Earthy Fields which have Overwhelmingly Powerful Global Significance

    Regarding ...

    As the biz failed to get close to the technological leap that Abovitz repeatedly assured investors and the public, it became excessively secretive and anyone who questioned its version of reality was shunned.

    ..... is the real truth it became increasingly excessively secret, as do all such things become, as they realised new versions of reality with virtualised augmented audio visual presentation is much more a cracking hearts and minds software heavy program rather than remote vital tele-visual hardware intensive operation ..... and the implications and consequences of success in a certain few extremely specific key trial areas with fundamentally attractive and awesomely addictive fields of enjoyment for employment and deployment ...... prove the frightening simple means by which all realities as you know them are easily changed to something/anything else .... and on scales which extend to and expand through COSMIC Universal ie limitless and unstoppable.

    And in the right hands of brave hearts and clear minds is that as a novel supplier of all that is good and much better than was ever before whereas in the wrong hands of twisted hearts and diseased minds is the future view delivered subverted and corrupted by media hosting devices.

    Such makes Peggy Johnson's presence a pretty common sense fit for both Microsoft and Magic Leap, methinks. Nice one, Magic Leap/Microsoft. What are going to tell us and show us you've done next?

    :-) And I wouldn't be fooled to agree with Gordon 10's "Show me the money" post which is littered with all manner of politically incorrect suppositions. 'Tis a curse which just keeps on giving.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: amanfromMars 1

      Micros~1 could have saved themselves a lot of embarrassment if the had hired amanfromMars 1 instead of Tay.

      (I just noticed Tay's replacement Zo when I checked the link for Tay. How on Earth was she not headline news?)

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: amanfromMars 1

        "How on Earth was she not headline news?"

        Dr. ELIZA said no ... to much publicity would overwhelm it.

        1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Re: amanfromMars 1

          I just talked to her (emacs: <alt>x doctor). Eventually I almost got her on topic:

          Kroes: No. I came to you to talk about Zo.

          Eliza: Why do you say you came to me to talk about zo?

          Kroes: I said I came to you to talk about Zo because I came to you to talk about Zo.

          Eliza: Are you satisfied with the fact that you came to me to talk about zo?

          Kroes: I am unsatisfied because I cannot get you to say anything interesting about Zo.

          Eliza: When did you first know that you cannot get me to say anything interesting about zo?

          Kroes: A few minutes ago.

          Zo looked like she could do a reasonable job of forming a relevant and accurate reply using information from the internet - which was hilarious when she was asked about Micros~1 and Windows.

      2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: amanfromMars 1

        Microsoft believed that AI, as an attempt of exploration in creation, differs from Go. AI Creation is not aimed at defeating humans. Instead, it is focused on giving full play to AI characteristics including fast learning, high concurrency and stability among others on the ground of hitting the same quality standard as human creators to embark on a future for “highly custom” content industry - under the technical support, a “highly custom” content era is coming soon where users demand “highly custom” content recommendation, presentation and even content itself. As AI hits a certain creation standard, it may help make up the defect of imbalance between supply and demand. .....

        Does anyone deny such an exploration in creation is already delivering human aid with highly customisable content, .....via audio visual media means and novel virtual memes?

        However, all is not yet rosey in that particular and peculiar Perfumed Garden for a Current Report is in, and it reads in essence ......Products Failing Miserably. Lacks Shine. Can do a Great Deal Better.

        Who/What is responsible for that MisUnderEstimation and Proprietary Intellectual Property Deficit ..... and AI Black Hole?

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: amanfromMars 1

          Products lack shine? Eh?

          From what I've seen, most new products are pure shine.

          The only black hole in AI is the place where all the money spent on it goes ...

  4. Evil_Goblin

    Elop MkII - what is the 2020s equivalent of burning platforms, collapsing clouds?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just another VC undertaker..

    When VCs want to wind down, repackage, and dispose of a dud investment via a holding company shell or else an "acquisition" this is exactly the sort of CEO they put in. The fact its a woman with her kind of resume tells me the VC's have given up any hope of recovering their investments. So its a repackage for maximum tax / write off advantage then a straight whack on the back of the head and burial in the deep forest sort of operation. This disposals usually take a few years, in a series of stages, but it will be gone in five. The actually timing totally depends on the tax and accounting regs, nothing else.

    1. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: Just another VC undertaker..

      I assume she'd be in on it due to be near retirement age? "We'll give you a few million to go along with the plan"

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Lying right to the end

    We have been fortunate to have a number of extremely qualified candidates express interest in the position of CEO."

    Really ? A number ? Well, one is a number.

    I cannot believe that anyone in their right mind would want to replace Abovitz in that failing company. Magic Leap does not have good press, has no product worth mentioning, and is in desperate need of funding after having already burned through a dot-com fortune. With practically any other company, you have a product, you either have competent people or you have machines that make that product. You restructure, lay off part of the staff that no longer corresponds to your vision, and you go in a new direction.

    Magic Leap has nothing. It doesn't even own its own patents any more - they are collateral and now belong to an investment company IIRC.

    I doubt very much that there was a stampede at the door to be CEO. And if there were that many "extremely qualified candidates", when she popped up it would have taken a bit longer to choose.

    1. iron Silver badge

      Re: Lying right to the end

      Actually if you don't read El Reg then Magic Leap has pretty good press. They wowed old media, bamboozled several celebs and had Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney describe Magic Leap One as "really a magical piece of technology that is the missing link towards making that experience possible."

      Of course anyone technical sees through the hype but their press is not all bad.

  7. x 7

    So what do Microsoft know that we don't..........?

    My guess is she's been put in place by Microsoft to ensure an easy takeover, shades of Nokia and Stephen Elop.

    The question is, what do Microsoft see in the business that's worth acquiring? Is there something in the technology package that fits into Microsoft's future plans

    1. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: So what do Microsoft know that we don't..........?

      Possibly just access to the patents.

  8. Mr Dogshit

    Rat joins sinking ship!

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Of course the sinking ship is entirely fake, as is the sea it's sinking into.

      So more: Rat walks into empty room and says "WTF?".

  9. Mark192 Bronze badge

    Even if they had a product that worked...

    Even if they had a product that worked they'd still fail to return their investment. AR/VR has inherent problems that will force it to remain niche.

    The company has so much debt that it can only sink.

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