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Things are looking up for Meta. The company beat sales expectations and reported a year-over-year increase in sales for the first time in three quarters. But this bright spot for the company formerly known as Facebook comes amid a harsh restructuring leading to it more than 10,000 Jobs were cut this year.
Tech moves like clockwork through buzzwords. Although the Metaverse was all the rage when Meta changed its name – sort of a recursive and self-referential generation of hype – it’s all about AI now. Despite suffering big losses on his Metaverse investments, CEO Mark Zuckerberg made it a point to let investors know he’s not making an about-face to AI. Rather, he sees AI as technology that works in tandem with the metaverse.
“The narrative that’s formed is that we’re kind of drifting away from focusing on the vision of the metaverse, so I’d like to upfront that that’s not true,” Zuckerberg said. “We have focused on AI and the metaverse and will continue to do so.”
Meta doesn’t expect Reality Labs to make any money just yet, but investors have expressed concern that this massive investment might not be worth it. Zuckerberg’s interest in further AI development might allay some of those worries — Meta’s stock price has gone up, for example — but the Metaverse is still bleeding money.
Reality Labs, Meta’s VR and AR division, lost nearly $4 billion this quarter. It has lost for the last year $13.7 billion. However, Zuckerberg pointed out that VR and AR technology actually includes AI.
“Our vision for AR glasses includes an AI-centric operating system that we believe will provide the foundation for the next generation of computing,” Zuckerberg said on the conference call.
Regarding his Metaverse vision, Zuckerberg said that half of the daily active users of his Quest headsets spend more than an hour a day on their device. Meta didn’t disclose how many people actually use Quest headsets on a daily basis.
“Building the metaverse is a long-term project, but the rationale for it remains the same and we remain committed to it,” Zuckerberg said.