Microsoft, Meta and Apple want to open new growth markets with AR and VR. Apparently, Meta poaches vigorously at the competition.
Seeking the next big growth market, big tech companies are targeting the Metaverse: Meta is leading the way, has invested billions in VR and AR since acquiring Oculus VR in 2014, and has even given itself a new name that sets direction for the next decade.
To give you an idea of the scale: Meta’s XR “Reality Labs” team currently numbers around 10,000 professionals. 10,000 other employees should follow in Europe within ten years. But first you have to find the many specialists, sometimes highly specialized.
Microsoft, Meta and Apple in the Metaverse competition
Microsoft is also riding the Metaverse hype train, leading AR glasses with Hololens, and developing XR Mesh infrastructure for VR, AR, and mainstream computers. While Apple wants to avoid the term metaverse, it still invests a lot of money in mixed reality research.
When looking for talent, the three heavyweights get in each other’s way: in late December, Bloomberg reported that Apple talent was defecting to Meta. A hundred specialists in the fields of augmented reality and artificial intelligence as well as software and hardware development would have changed sides.
Meta also attracts XR professionals from Microsoft
Bloomberg again reports that about 100 Hololens developers left Microsoft last year and were hired by competitors. At least 40 of them have switched to Meta, according to Linkedin profiles. In some cases, competitors have reportedly offered wages twice as high, Bloomberg reports in reference to former employees.
Two meta-comers previously held senior positions at Microsoft: Charlie Han was responsible for customer feedback, so he should bring many contacts with him. Josh Miller worked at Microsoft in a senior role on the Display team. At Meta, he is now the director of display.
Meta does not comment on Bloomberg’s report. Microsoft points out that staff turnover is a common challenge for many teams.
Overall, the damage to Microsoft is still limited: around 1,500 specialists continue to work in the AR team. With Hololens, Microsoft is also the undisputed market leader in industrial AR glasses and has established a strong brand.
Meta with Cambria and Apple with new VR-AR glasses, however, Microsoft could attack for the first time this year in the industrial XR segment and also serve the end-user market: indoors, in which Microsoft currently plays no role and Hololens no longer 2 can play. For technical reasons, the AR glasses are neither suitable as a pure office device nor as an entertainment device.
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