Microsoft no longer believes in the metaverse

Microsoft no longer believes in the metaverse. Before all of today’s clamor around AI (artificial intelligence), many big names in the sector presented the Metaverse as the “Next Big Thing” where to invest, fearing that soon we would all live and work in virtual worlds, an idea in which he continues to believe Mark Zuckerberg and in which Meta has invested heavily.

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Meta in 2022 announced various partnerships, including those with Microsoft, Adobe, and Zoom for the creation of open virtual worlds, presented as capable of offering “immersive internet” experiences, a sort of new internet where the user should be allowed to move with the same avatar.

In 2021 the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, as part of the Ignite conference, presented the metaverse as “a breakthrough”, something capable of “enabling shared experiences” between the physical world and the digital world by allowing people to meet in a virtual environment through the use of avatars, “facilitating borderless collaboration globally”.

Now Microsoft seems unconvinced of the possible success of the metaverse and its evolution; has dismantled entire divisions that dealt only with this, including the Altspace VR group (a social virtual reality platform acquired in 2017) but also the MRTK team, the one that dealt with the framework of the same name, or “Mixed Reality Tool Kit”, a framework cross-platform dedicated to virtual reality. Also noteworthy are 100 layoffs in the Industrial Metaverse Core due to uncertainties about regulations and other personnel cuts also concerned HoloLens, the mixed reality viewer of the Redmond company.

The new holy grail for Microsoft is Artificial Intelligence, a sector where it has invested 10 billion dollars, preferring a hasty retreat from everything related to the metaverse; the immersive internet vision with augmented or virtual reality is no longer a priority for the Redmond multinational and its support in this area appears only marginal for now. The metaverse on everyone’s block until recently, already feels like the past. It remains to be seen whether the decision to “reinvent search” with artificial intelligence, as proposed by Microsoft with the new Bing search engine and the Edge browser, will hit the mark, or if in two years we’ll find ourselves talking about chatbots (or “co-pilots” as Microsoft calls them) to navigate the web, as something outdated as the metaverse never took off now appears.

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