Microsoft revealed yesterday that it hired Liz Hamren from Oculus to head up marketing for mixed reality as the company begins to build out its efforts beyond HoloLens into a broad range of devices including VR headsets.
Hamren was the chief marketing officer at Oculus and joins Microsoft as corporate vice president of mixed reality marketing. She’ll be reporting directly to Yusuf Mehdi, the head of marketing for the Windows and devices group at Microsoft. In an internal email, Mehdi outlined the growing importance of mixed reality to Microsoft’s efforts.
From the email:
"One of the biggest bets Microsoft is making for the future of computing is the development of a new world of mixed reality, led in large part by our pioneering work on Microsoft HoloLens. We have been on this journey from the unveil of HoloLens back in January 2015, to the announcement from our OEM partners of the first headsets capable of mixed reality last October, to the release of the first Windows 10 Mixed Reality dev kits this month. As we gear up for this coming holiday, we enter a new phase of bringing mixed reality to everyone."
Microsoft is building a dedicated mixed reality sales team “to scale our business to the next phase,” according to the company, with a big push expected this holiday season. Hamren will be leading teams including Jeff Hansen (who worked previously at now-defunct EnvelopVR) and Sandhya Thodla, who worked on marketing the Surface line of products. Before Oculus, Hamren worked at Dropcam, which was acquired by Nest Labs.
Last year, Microsoft hired pioneering researcher Mark Bolas from USC and we went hands-on with an early prototype VR headset from the company a few weeks ago at GDC. We hope to get major updates on the company’s mixed reality plans at the Microsoft Build developer’s conference in May followed by E3 in June.