Friday, May 12, 2017

The Magic Leap Bias Suit: Sexism As a Sign of Failure - WIRED

by DAVEY ALBA 
Originally publisher: May 11, 2017
Publisher: Wired.com 

MAGIC LEAP, THE secretive augmented reality tech startup that’s valued at $4.5 billion (and reportedly bores Beyoncé), settled a sex discrimination lawsuit this week. The plaintiff, Tannen Campbell, a former vice-president of strategic marketing, was hired to make the company’s product more appealing to women. Campbell filed a notice of settlement Monday in federal court in Florida, Magic Leap’s home state, and the terms of the settlement are confidential. (Representatives for both Campbell and Magic Leap said they couldn’t comment.) If all goes smoothly, the suit will officially end by the beginning of next month.

But Magic Leap’s problems won’t. Since the company’s founder, Rony Abovitz, appeared on WIRED’s cover a year ago, Magic Leap has faltered, beleaguered by bad press and allegations of unfulfilled promises. That’s a long way from 2014, when Silicon Valley was all abuzz over the stealthy startup. Google, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, Andreessen Horowitz and other titans of venture capital all rushed to invest in the company and its “mixed reality” software that lets people see virtual 3-D objects superimposed over the real world. Despite garnering $1.4 billion in funding to date, however, Magic Leap has found itself facing a slew of accusations that it may have wildly over-promised on its tech. Questions now abound over whether the company will ever deliver a product.