Source:"Zhidxcom" (id:zhidxcom), author: Xushan, editor: Yun Peng
Early today (the 21st) morning, the science and technology circle exploded. This time, it is still the hottest topic in the near future,Metaverse。
The first is Meta Without a word, the company unveiled 24 head display prototypes, and mainly predicted that meta's next generation head display would make breakthroughs in the four fields of retinal resolution, focal length depth, optical distortion and HDR.
▲ head display prototype of meta reality Labs
Then the media broke the news, Tencent officially established XR (extended reality) Department Led by Lishen, global chief technology officer of Tencent games. In combination with Luo Yonghao's previous return to the science and technology circle, Skyworth is about to launch new VR products, etcThe meta universe seems to be welcoming the "second spring"。
Under the cumulative effect of many news layers, today's meta universe concept stocks have risen rapidly, with Nearly 100 The company's share price rose, among which the shares of Baoying and Alto electronics rose by more than 9%, close to the limit.
▲ as of the closing on June 21, the situation of yuanuniverse concept stocks (source: Sohu Securities)
Interestingly, the metacosmic market is now like "Schrodinger's cat".
On the one hand, both giants and start-ups of some tracks believe that Yuancosmos racetrack has a huge blue ocean market For this reason, it is crazy to spend money and dig people. On the other hand, they are the two technology giants who shouted the loudest slogan of "meta universe" at the beginning, Microsoft and meta have fallen into development difficulties one after another 。
On June 10, Microsoft announcedReorganize the new MR (hybrid reality) team。 And just four days ago, meta also announced the companyRestructuring plan of AI Department。 At the same time, news about the resignation of Microsoft and meta executives came out frequently. The restructuring of departments and the change of senior executives' resignation have also cast a layer of haze on the grand plan of the two technology giants.
New giants are pouring in, while the giants on the other side who have been in the game for a long time are "struggling" to survive. How should the giants go to the meta universe? In the face of changes in the meta universe market, How did Microsoft, the leader of the b-end track of metauniverse, and meta, the leader of the C-end track respond? Why did their executives choose to leave when the meta universe was hot?
After investigation, we see that in this turbulent period,Microsoft and meta chose two different routes to enter the meta universe circuit。
Microsoft chose a relatively conservative approach, disbanded the MR team focusing on the meta universe field, and the employees were divided into different departments according to different types of projects. The business of meta universe is still dominated by Windows system.
The radical meta merged its former core team AI team into a reality laboratory focusing on the meta universe, which is bound to want to find a new way.
On June 10, an internal email circulated among Microsoft employees.
In this email, Scott Guthrie, head of Microsoft cloud and artificial intelligence group, announced the resignation of Alex kipman, the main head of hololens team, and said that "now is the right time for him to leave the company for other opportunities".
Alexkipman is the "soul" of Microsoft's Mr team.
Alex kipmann was born into a Brazilian diplomat's family and was "a child of another family" since childhood. It is rumored that Alex kipmann learned Atari 2600 programming when he was seven or eight years old.
In 2001, Alex kipmann graduated from Rochester Institute of technology and joined Microsoft. He was involved inMicrosoft's Windows Vista project、Project Natal (Kinect)Product upgrading and other core projects.
It is reported that don Mattrick, vice president of Microsoft's interactive entertainment business department at that time, hoped to add motion tracking, face recognition, voice control and other functions to Kinect products to enhance product interactivity. At that time, the task was handed over to kipmann, who holds a number of patents, which laid the foundation for the later development of hololens by kipmann.
On january21,2015, kipmann wore hololens to the stage of Microsoft press conference to introduce his latest achievements to the world. In the face of hololens, kipman once said in an interview: "I don't think the $3500 headset is a consumer product. But for our industry, it is a revolutionary product."
▲ Alex kipman
As for his departure, the information, a foreign media, once commented: "This is Microsoft's biggest blow in AR hardware, platform and software since 2010. This will affect (Microsoft's) plans to promote any enterprise, military or consumer projects."
Not only are senior executives leaving, but other members of Microsoft's Mr team are also changing jobs to other companies. According to the Wall Street Journal, In 2021 alone, nearly 100 people left Microsoft.
Meta is also a technology giant recently affected by employee turnover.
As the number one player in the consumer market, meta's core technical personnel are also losing. June 2, Chief operating officer Cheryl Sandberg（Sheryl Sandberg) said on his social platform that he would resign as chief operating officer of meta, but would retain the position of member of meta's board of directors.
▲ Sheryl Sandberg
And after she offered to leave, Jerome pesenti, head of artificial intelligence at meta （Jerome Pesenti）、 CTO mikeshropfel (Mike Schroepfer), and David Mortenson, senior executive in charge of data center and core infrastructure (David Mortenson) successively announced that he was about to leave.
According to statistics, since October 2021, Nearly 20 core executives of meta have left, including Mike Schroepfer, chief technology officer, and Mike verdu, senior vice president of ar/vr。
These senior executives who have been rooted in meta for many years and have worked in meta for more than 10 years leave, which is no less than a new personnel shock for meta.
Every large-scale personnel unrest of the giants seems to be witnessing the end of an era. The resignation of senior executives also revealed some feedback on the current situation of the company's business.
After the great fire of the metauniverse concept, more and more people are paying attention to this track. Entrepreneurs in the vr/ar field are gradually increasing. The influx of large manufacturers and the favor of the capital market also give executives more choice opportunities. At the same time, for the giants, their competition for meta universe talents is becoming more and more fierce.
It is difficult to say whether the resignation of these executives is related to the adjustment of the company's core direction, but Microsoft and meta have indeed encountered many problems in the business development of the meta universe.
According to foreign media ITpro today, Microsoft had previously won a large US Army order estimated at $22billion, but now it has received only $40million.
Douglas Bush, assistant deputy secretary of the U.S. Army procurement department, once said that they were doubting whether Microsoft could deliver the AR headset on schedule before May 2022. Previously, some soldiers pointed out that Microsoft's IVAS system (integrated visual enhancement system) had low light and thermal imaging performance problems.
Now that the delivery time has come, how has Microsoft completed this big order? We may be able to find out from the financial report data of Microsoft this quarter.
If Microsoft is a major ar customer and its orders are frustrated, it may affect the financial report data of its "meta universe Department", then meta's actual financial report has affected its overall business progress.
According to foreign media the information, Meta decided not to release the consumer grade ar glasses code named Project Nazare，The smart glasses code named Artemis will be released first. The ar software team previously engaged in nazarre will focus on building software development kits.
Not only that, to cut costs, Meta also plans to cancel the development of smart watches And repositioned its portal smart home products to face enterprise users.
The shelving of these R & D projects is a series of efforts to reduce the expenditure in the hardware and ar/vr departments of reality labs. As early as may this year, Andrew Bosworth, chief technology officer of meta and head of reality lab, told employees to prepare for the reduction or delay of some projects.
After meta announced the transformation of the meta universe, the financial problems became more and more prominent. Compared with the previous high market value of $956billion, meta's current market value is only $443.1 billion, less than half of its market value. And the millions of R & D invested by meta in real laboratory projects also forced it to tighten its "wallet" and learn to put away its ambitions.
▲ on June 21, the stock price change of meta as of the closing position
It seems that if the technology giants want to gain a firm foothold in the meta universe field, they must carefully consider how to reasonably arrange funds.
In the face of a large number of senior executives leaving and business promotion being blocked, Microsoft and meta both chose to restructure their businesses at the same time, but chose different ways of restructuring.
First, Microsoft. We can see from the internal email that the original Mr team of Microsoft mainly provided AR and VR products and solutions. Among them, the core businesses of Microsoft's Mr team mainly include HoloLens 、 IVAS in cooperation with the army (integrated visual augmentation system) project as well as Microsoft mesh XR cloud service Three parts.
At this time, Microsoft's Mr team business did not see a clear direction, but with the resignation of Alex kipmann, the main leader of hololens team, the Microsoft Mr team restructuring plan seemed to reveal a corner of Microsoft's metauniverse plan.
According to the documents, the MR hardware team will join the windows and devices group with the hololens and IVAS projects, and Microsoft surfacePanos Panay, head of the computer department, is in charge. Jeff Teper, vice president of teams' collaboration products and other fields, will take over the MR software team and the Microsoft mesh XR cloud service project.
▲ the two major departments that Microsoft Mr team will join after splitting up
At this point, Microsoft's Mr team was completely dissolved, the core leader left, and the team fell apart.
According to the latest restructuring plan, Microsoft's meta universe plan may still focus on Windows operating system, develop different hardware products to match it, and then cut into the hardware track in the meta universe field. In terms of software, Microsoft will focus on collaborative office software. Meanwhile, Microsoft's resource investment in the meta universe field may decline.
The meta of "all in metauniverse" chose a different path. It chose to break up the AI team. On June 2, meta disclosed on its official website that it planned to reorganize the ai r & D team to supplement the "strength" of the real laboratory department focusing on the meta universe.
This change is mainly divided into two parts:
First, the AI responsible organization of meta will be merged into the social impact team; AI's product team will be merged into the product engineering team.
Secondly, ai4ar team and AI research team Fair (Facebook AI research) will join the new pillar of reality labs research.
▲ organization adjustment information published on the official website of meta
Meanwhile, Jerome pesenti, vice president of AI of meta, will leave in mid June after helping the AI team better integrate into all business lines.
Meta calls this adjustment“Meta AI decentralized organizational structure(a new decentralized organizational structure for meta AI) ", the plan closely combines AI technology, products and applications, and also goes deep into the research and development of various products in its meta universe field.
And the reality labs research department, which specializes in the meta universe, is once again in this restructuring, Consolidated his position 。
Microsoft and meta seem to have chosen different paths at this time because they are also the technology giants, the top players in the segment circuit, and the first person to seize the head display market in the vr/ar field.
Microsoft disbanded the XR team, which mainly focused on metauniverse, and distributed it to all business lines, which means that Microsoft has reduced its focus on metauniverse. In the face of metauniverse, Microsoft chose to take its existing cloud services and operating systems as its advantages and choose the opportunity to enter into the new business of metauniverse. Meta chose to dismantle its own AI team, strengthen the existing meta universe team, enhance meta's focus in the meta universe field again, and try to walk out of a new path.
In the face of difficulties in business promotion and the collective departure of senior executives, Microsoft and meta have both encountered turbulent times on the road of exploring the meta universe, and the two giant companies have also given different solutions.
On the way to the meta universe, meta showed firm determination and imperative spirit, broke up its AI team and integrated it into the meta universe team, and shelved the research and development of some intelligent wearable devices. Microsoft, on the other hand, chose to integrate the MR team into its existing business by breaking up the MR team, still focusing on the existing business.
In this step back, meta, the leading meta player in the consumer market, and Microsoft, the heaviest meta player in the enterprise market, have taken a very different path. Who made the better choice, perhaps only time can tell us the answer.