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BlackRock, Microsoft, and the Metaverse?

BlackRock & The Metaverse

BlackRock, the multi-national investment company, believes the metaverse is the next significant investment opportunity and has confidence in its long-term value. It cites the increasing interest in the concept of the metaverse, comparing it to the internet in the 1990s and the smartphone at the turn of the century.

BlackRock sees the metaverse revolutionizing work and play. The success of the metaverse will be driven by advancements in hardware and computing power, the potential of cryptocurrencies, and the shift to digital life accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

BlackRock sees immediate investment opportunities in companies that supply big tech with solutions for hardware development and later in services accessed by new devices and metaverse-dependent software. Despite market volatility, BlackRock views tech as the economy's foundation and sees the metaverse as a necessary step toward a fully realized digital world.

Microsoft & The Metaverse

From The Information:

In a surprising reversal, Microsoft has killed a team it formed four months ago to help customers use the metaverse in industrial settings, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. The group’s roughly 100 employees have all been laid off, the person said.

Microsoft’s industrial metaverse team worked with customers in healthcare, retail, financial services, energy, manufacturing and other industries. Coca-Cola, Unilever, Anheuser-Busch InBev, General Motors and Mexican food producer Grupo Bimbo had used Microsoft’s industrial metaverse services, Judson Althoff, executive vice president and chief commercial officer, said at a conference in September.

The cuts reflect Microsoft's efforts to prioritize near-term projects over ones that could take longer to generate meaningful revenue, said the person with direct knowledge. But they are surprising given that Microsoft Chair and CEO Satya Nadella and other senior executives had previously expressed support for the Industrial Metaverse Core team's work.

While I commended Microsoft's AI efforts yesterday. As the author of The Metaverse Handbook, I'm saddened by their decision to kill their industrial metaverse team. The Metaverse is not a short-term endeavor. It's the evolution of the internet that we all know today. People are pointing to VR headsets and saying that the metaverse sucks, but they're forgetting that the VR headset isn't the mainstream device that will connect us all to the metaverse in the future.

Patience is critical here, but there are rumors that Apple will get into the XR space this year with their own headset, and there's been plenty of exciting developments from companies like Nreal with their Air XR glasses offering.