Remember the Metaverse?
In the run-up to the recent explosion of hype around artificial intelligence (AI), the Metaverse is fueling the next Big Thing poised to transform the world, technology, and work in ways never imagined before. Poured. In the near future, we will all live and work in virtual worlds that are far more interesting, vibrant, and productive than the monotonous, dead-end reality.
Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t the only one to lead the Metaverse prosecution by renaming Facebook to Meta. Microsoft hyped it as well.I can’t overstate what a breakthrough this is,” he said in his keynote at Microsoft Ignite two years ago.
It was early 2021, a long time ago, in an unenlightened era. Tech companies are much smarter now, they say. AI is at the heart of the coming transformation. The metaverse is yesterday’s news.
Microsoft officially denies it, but the company has effectively stopped working on the metaverse. The speed with which it happened is astounding, and it’s a cautionary tale for companies looking to invest in technology that’s currently on the hype list.
When the metaverse was the future
Nadella made big promises in her 2021 keynote: In a way, the Metaverse allows computing to be embedded in the real world, and the real world to be embedded in computing, bringing a real presence to any digital space. For years we have been talking about creating a digital representation of this world, and now we have the opportunity to actually enter and participate in it. ”
Nadella saw significant benefits for both consumers and businesses. “It’s no longer just a camera watching the factory floor. You can be on the floor,” he said. “It’s no longer just video conferencing with your colleagues. You can be in the same room with them. It’s not just playing games with your friends. You can join them in the game.”
The company has backed up that statement with funding and stepped up development of projects like the Mixed Reality Tool Kit. MRTKVirtual Reality Workspace Project AltspaceVR (Bought back in 2017), HoloLens virtual reality headsets, industrial metaverse units, and more.
How the Metaverse Became the Past
That investment did not last long. Microsoft recently announced plans to lay off 10,000 people, but the ax is already starting to fall. Let’s be clear — layoffs are when rubber hits the road. Clarify what is important to your business and what is not, what the future holds for your company, and what will go down in history.
The message couldn’t be clearer. The metaverse is not an important part of Microsoft’s future. The entire Altspace VR team has been let go. So did the MRTK team. It really speaks to how Microsoft thinks about the future of the metaverse, especially given that a new version of MRTK is due out next month.
More importantly, Microsoft Fire all 100 members of the Industrial Metaverse Core Team, it was founded only in October. There were also other metaverse-related cuts, including HoloLens.
Despite these moves, the company claims it’s still going full steam ahead, saying it “continues to work on the industrial metaverse.”
Words are one thing, but actions certainly speak louder. Follow the money to find the truth. Microsoft has invested more than $10 billion of his in AI, but has beaten a hasty exit from anything to do with the metaverse with a spate of recent layoffs. Clearly, the company sees AI as the future, not the Metaverse.
what this means
So what does this mean for you and your company? First, if you have big metaverse plans involving Microsoft-related technologies, it’s time to revisit those plans. Microsoft only supports its metaverse around the edges. So, to some extent, you can do it yourself. Take that into consideration when deciding your next steps.
This also means you have to be careful not to over-buy or over-buy Microsoft’s AI promises. Yes, the company seems to be fully committed to this technology. It has billions of dollars of investment and high-profile statements about its use at Bing. It claims that AI will be built into basically every function in the future.
AI will no doubt impact much of what the company does in the years to come. But remember, it was only two years ago that Nadella couldn’t “overstate how much of a breakthrough the Metaverse was.” And now Microsoft has pretty much abandoned it.
Be careful when it comes to AI. You should invest in it, but don’t go full-on until it’s clear that Microsoft itself will be full-on for years to come.
Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.