Metaverse hype: Microsoft employees defect to Meta
Microsoft, Meta, and Apple are looking to tap into new growth markets with AR and VR. Apparently, Meta is poaching heavily from the competition in the process.
In their search for the next big growth market, the big tech companies are setting their sights on the Metaverse: Meta is leading the way, pouring billions into VR and AR since acquiring Oculus VR in 2014, even giving itself a new name that underscores its focus for the coming decade.
To give a sense of scale: Meta’s XR team “Reality Labs” currently employs around 10000 professionals. Another 10000 employees are to follow within the next ten years in Europe. But the many specialists must first be found.
Microsoft, Meta, and Apple in Metaverse competition
Microsoft is also riding the Metaverse hype train, is at the forefront of AR glasses with Hololens, and is developing the XR infrastructure Mesh for VR, AR, and traditional computers. Apple wants to avoid the term Metaverse, but still invests a lot of money in mixed reality research.
When it comes to finding talent, the three heavyweights are coming to blows: back in late December, Bloomberg reported that Apple talent is defecting to Meta. Some 100 professionals in augmented reality and artificial intelligence, as well as software and hardware development, are said to have switched sides.
Meta also lures Microsoft’s XR professionals
Now Bloomberg is again reporting that around 100 Hololens developers have quit Microsoft in the past year and hired on with competitors. At least 40 of them are said to have switched to Meta, according to their Linkedin profiles. In some cases, competitors are said to have offered salaries twice as high, Bloomberg reports with reference to former employees.
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Two Meta arrivals previously held senior roles at Microsoft: Charlie Han was responsible for customer feedback, so should bring plenty of contacts with him. Josh Miller worked at Microsoft in a senior role on the display team. At Meta, he is now active as display director.
Meta does not comment on Bloomberg’s report. Microsoft points out that employee turnover is a common challenge with many teams.
The overall damage to Microsoft is still limited: About 1500 professionals continue to work on the AR team. With Hololens, Microsoft is also the clear market leader in industrial AR glasses and has established a strong brand.
However, Meta with Cambria and Apple with a new VR AR glasses could attack Microsoft in the industrial XR segment for the first time this year and also serve the market for end consumers, in which Microsoft does not currently play a role and cannot do so with Hololens 2. For technical reasons, the AR glasses are neither suitable as a pure office nor as an entertainment device.