This story may have been drowned out in recent weeks by all the hoopla around Elon Musk taking over Twitter, but another big tech celebrity is making even bigger waves.
We’re of course talking about Mark Zuckerberg, who is so determined to take Facebook into web 3.0 and the Metaverse that he changed the name of the company from Facebook to Meta.
And he’s paid a massive price, so far.
Facebook may not be hip or as popular with the next generation, but it has reliably printed money for shareholders. But recent changes to Apple’s iOS privacy features have hurt Facebook’s ad business, the primary source of Meta’s revenue.
Simply put, Meta’s long-term business is highly dependent on operating systems and devices it does not control. So Zuckerberg has pivoted and rolled the dice on being first and dominant on what he believes will be The Next Big Thing: virtual and augmented reality devices and software.
But it’s costing Meta a whole lot of money… and investors so far are not optimistic. Shares are down 70% in the past year!!
Not surprising. Historically pioneers were the most likely to end up with arrows in their backs. But they were also more likely to stake the best claims and find gold before everyone else.
Meta is betting that their new $1,500 Meta Quest Pro VR headset will change the way we work and that virtual reality will replace the traditional desk job.
Microsoft appears to agree and are very keen to get their own early footing in the Metaverse, opening up VR access to some of their core products like Word and Powerpoint to Meta Quest Pro users.
And the next step is already here. Still in beta, Meta’s Horizon Workrooms will allow co-workers to gather as avatars in a virtual room of their design. They can collaborate on documents, share screens and sketch ideas on a whiteboard that never runs out of space.
Time will tell whether this is a major mistake by Meta… but don’t be surprised if VR goggles become as an integral part of the business attire as the suit and tie is today.