Meta CEO prepares employees for XR competition from Apple
Meta currently dominates the VR market. But that could soon change when Apple enters the scene as a direct competitor. Mark Zuckerberg is preparing his team for that moment - and sees a fundamental strategic difference between Meta's approach and Apple's.
While Sony, with its VR gaming-focused Playstation VR 2, is more of an indirect competitor to Meta, Apple could be planning a frontal assault: the tech company reportedly plans to launch a VR AR headset in January 2023 to compete directly with Meta's Cambria headset, which launches in the fall.
Both headsets could focus on productivity, though no one at Apple is said to be talking about the Metaverse.
Meta vs. Apple: "A competition of philosophies and ideas"
At a staff meeting in July, Meta's CEO prepared his employees for Apple's attack. And he didn't spare any big words: competition between Apple and Meta would determine the direction in which the Internet would develop.
Zuckerberg sees a fundamental difference between Apple's approach and Meta's: Apple wants to control the entire ecosystem itself and is convinced that this approach will lead to the best user experience.
“And we believe that there is a lot to be done in specialization across different companies, and [that] will allow a much larger ecosystem to exist,” Zuckerberg says.
Meta, along with many other players relevant to XR, is part of the Khronos open Metaverse standardization group, where Apple is not on the member list. According to Zuckerberg, Meta even initiated this group, but Apple did not want to join it.
"But I don’t think that’s a surprise. Apple, for a few generations of computing now, has been the closed provider of computing."
Zuckerberg's statements come from a response to an employee's question about how Apple's absence from this group affects the Meta ecosystem.
Meta continues to bank on Android
During his speech, Zuckerberg also mentions that Meta is trying to "make more stuff interoperable with Android." This is interesting in that Meta was working on its own XR operating system, but stopped development and returned to an Android-based OS. Zuckerberg's statement implies that Meta will remain in Google's Android ecosystem for the foreseeable future.
For PCs, the more open Windows standard has prevailed, Zuckerberg said, while for smartphones, Apple has been wildly successful with its closed iPhone ecosystem. Zuckerberg believes that it is not yet clear which approach is better for the Metaverse.
"Our north star is can we get a billion people into the metaverse doing hundreds of dollars a piece in digital commerce by the end of the decade? If we do that, we’ll build a business that is as big as our current ad business within this decade."
Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth recently said he was excited for the competition from Apple, as Apple's entry into the market takes the technology further toward the mainstream.