First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

We need so many more of our readers to join them. The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country. We are inundated with tip-offs; we know where to look and what to do with the information when we have it – we just need the means to help us keep doing this work.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Microsoft $22 Billion U.S. Army Deal for HoloLens Moves...



Microsoft $22 Billion U.S. Army Deal for HoloLens Moves Forward

A Microsoft HoloLens 2 headset at the MWC Barcelona in 2019. Photographer: Angel Garcia/Bloomberg
By Reuters
31 Mar 2021 0

Microsoft Corp.’s multibillion-dollar deal to build customized versions of its HoloLens goggles for the U.S. Army is moving forward, one year after the Senate considered freezing half the contract.

By Dina Bass

Word Count: 366
(Bloomberg) —The deal, initially unveiled three years ago, is now worth as much as $21.9 billion over ten years, according to Microsoft. The agreement runs for an initial five years, with an option to add another five years. The software maker will manufacture the augmented-reality devices in the U.S. The Army announced the contract Wednesday on its website.

Microsoft shares jumped almost 3% to $238.29 after the news.

The program, known as the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS, aims to develop a “heads-up display” for U.S. ground forces, similar to those fighter pilots use in the cockpit. The system would let commanders project information onto a visor in front of a soldier’s face, and would include other features such as night vision. In October 2018, the U.S. Army awarded Microsoft a $480 million contract to adapt its HoloLens AR headset for the program.

The headset “delivers a platform that will keep soldiers safer and make them more effective,” said Alex Kipman, a Microsoft Technical Fellow, said in a blog post shared by email. “The program delivers enhanced situational awareness, enabling information sharing and decision-making in a variety of scenarios.”

Microsoft has been hawking HoloLens devices to corporate customers for things like remote repairs and training and to educational institutions for holographic classes. Last month, the company unveiled new software that aims to spread the benefits of augmented and virtual reality to a wider swath of customers, including consumers, who can’t pay several thousand dollars per device and for an expanded array of uses like corporate meetings and entertainment events.

The project with the Army has been opposed by some Microsoft employees who have protested the use of the technology for combat.

The Army used a fast-track buying method known as “other transaction authority” to side-step much of the red tape typically involved in a deal of this size. It chose Microsoft after reviewing several proposals, including one from competitor Magic Leap Inc.

(Updates with shares in third paragraph.)

–With assistance from Tony Capaccio.


Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

No Comments, yet

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted