Meta Meets Microsoft

As always, an excellent commentary from Ben Thompson on technology directions. This time he is looking at the latest announcement of an alliance between Meta and Microsoft to deliver joint VR/Metaverse solutions. He sees this as a very promising alliance, but with significant obstacles to the adoption of VR in general, and the Meta view of the Metaverse in particular.

Ben’s conclusion is that we’ll see an initial push into enterprise collaboration as a workplace productivity too. And only then, sometime later, as a consumer device.

This then is where I stand on VR and the metaverse concept, on Meta’s one-year anniversary:

  • VR does have real utility, but I think that utility will be realized in the enterprise first, in part because the value of VR only becomes apparent when you use it, and you’re more likely to use it if your company pays for it (VR really doesn’t demo well, as yesterday’s presentation showed).
  • Microsoft is well-placed to deliver that utility on top of Meta hardware.
  • Meta is likely to be the catalyst for VR becoming a widely used technology but it is much more uncertain as to whether the company will capture sufficient value to justify its massive investment, thanks in part to its focus on social networking.