Microsoft recently decided to discontinue its Industrial Metaverse Team, which was focused on creating virtual and augmented reality experiences for the workplace. While cuts are not a complete surprise in big tech right now, axing a whole project is a bit bigger than generalized layoffs.
The Industrial Metaverse Team was part of Microsoft's effort to create a more immersive, interactive digital environment for industrial use cases. This team consisted of about 100 employees and was working on creating virtual reality simulations for training and other industrial applications.
This move comes as a bit of a surprise. Just a few months ago Microsoft was touting a slew of Fortune 100 customers for their Industrial Metaverse offerings, though I guess it’s not all that hard for Microsoft to get some amount of cash flow from long-time customers.
Microsoft has a long history of exploring and investing in the metaverse space, including the development of its HoloLens headset and the creation of avatars for virtual reality experiences. However, it is unclear why the tech giant has decided to discontinue its Industrial Metaverse Team at this time.
Despite the discontinuation of the Industrial Metaverse Team, Microsoft is still building and investing in the metaverse space. The company has a large portfolio of technologies and services that can be applied to the metaverse, including the HoloLens, Azure cloud services, and the larger Xbox and Microsoft Gaming divisions.
It remains to be seen what impact this move will have on Microsoft's overall metaverse strategy, as well as the future of the industrial metaverse space. Meta seems to believe that the big opportunity is in business, not consumer, metaverse and VR applications.