Reality finally set in for Rony Abovitz in May. The augmented reality headset that had been under development for nine years inside his company, Magic Leap Inc., had been a colossal flop. In a tearful address over video conference, Abovitz told employees that he would resign.
Abovitz, whose infectious optimism helped Magic Leap secure total investments of about $3.5 billion, didn’t stay down long. Just as his replacement, Peggy Johnson, was taking over, he tweeted that he was “working in stealth mode on something new:-).” The cryptic message was accompanied by a change to Abovitz’s Twitter bio referencing something called Project Phoenix. Abovitz, one could assume, is the mythical bird. That makes Magic Leap the ashes.