Microsoft’s Early Success in Augmented Reality Leading to Talent Drain

Facebook’s Metaverse Pivot Finds Firm Snatching Up Talent

The battle to reign supreme in the metaverse is heating up as companies poach talent from Microsoft (MSFT) following early successes. Online job profiles and testimony from former employees show around 100 workers have left Microsoft in the past 12 months, with around 40 joining Meta Platforms (FB). This comes as industry observers note Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented-reality headset is one of the world’s most advanced.

Other tech companies are aggressively pursuing HoloLens team members. In some cases, workers are offered double their base salary to make the switch. Zooming out, analysts say Meta’s speed and scale in this talent acquisition threatens to price out smaller competitors.

Meta Draining Talent From All Corners Amid Augmented and Virtual Reality Focus

It’s not just Microsoft losing workers to Meta’s aspirations. Apple (AAPL) is also dealing with the same issue, as Meta plans to spend upwards of $10 billion and hire thousands of new workers. The world’s tech giants are all focused on the metaverse, which analysts describe as a largely untapped digital world.

In fact, the metaverse may ultimately exist as a platform where users will play, work, learn, and shop. The term encapsulates both virtual reality and augmented reality. While the former fully immerses users in a digital space such as a video game, the latter overlays digital images within “real world” scenarios. Either way, the hardware and software involved with both kinds of technology represent the building blocks of this new metaverse.

Augmented Reality vs. Virtual Reality and Investor Viewpoints

While the differences between augmented reality and virtual reality may seem subtle, perceptions exist that AR has more long-term potential. That said, taking it mainstream may prove more challenging. Video game users are already familiar with VR headsets, and Meta dominates the headset market with a roughly 75% share.

Analysts say Meta’s hiring binge and focus on Microsoft’s HoloLens team is linked with the drive to develop augmented reality headsets. The ongoing talent drain could jeopardize some current Microsoft projects, such as a VR headset ordered by the US Army that aims to help soldiers see at night and in smoky conditions. Meta also recently partnered with Ray-Ban maker EssilorLuxottica (ESLOY) to make smart glasses. No matter how you slice it, talent acquisition and deal-making initiatives figure to represent a major factor in the race to dominate the metaverse.

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ABOUT Meg Richardson Meg Richardson is a writer specializing in markets, technology, and personal finance. She loves breaking down seemingly complex ideas and making them readable and interesting for everyone. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia University. When she is not writing about finance, she enjoys running in Central Park and drawing cartoons.

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