Microsoft close its Industrial Metaverse Team

Microsoft has reportedly ended a project to encourage the use of the Metaverse in industrial environments and laid off 100 members. The redundancies are part of a more extensive layoff plan of 10,000 employees announced last month, as the company prioritises shorter-term projects that can generate revenue faster.

Microsoft’s Industrial Metaverse Core team was established in October to develop software interfaces using AI and digital technologies to manage physical goods, assets, places, processes, and equipment. The project, dubbed “Project Bonsai” was focused on creating software interfaces for operating control systems for electrical power plants, industrial robotics, and transportation networks.

Microsoft’s mixed-reality operations recently posted that they are committed to producing and supporting HoloLens 2 and investing in richer and more immersive collaboration experiences in the Metaverse with Microsoft Mesh and the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) program.

The assurances from Microsoft came after the surprise closure of AltspaceVR, its VR Social Metaverse platform. Mesh is now one of the primary Metaverse developments for Microsoft. Microsoft’s move towards a Metaverse-based platform is a more significant push towards mixed reality and cloud-based computing. The company has also recently invested in VR, AR, and mixed-reality hardware.

Microsoft will use its leverage its cloud computing, AI, and mixed reality expertise to create an immersive Metaverse platform for users. With Mesh, they can open businesses to various new applications such as virtual meetings, 3D product design, virtual training, and simulations.

The restructuring could see Microsoft taking a more cautious approach to its Metaverse strategy, likely observing the successes and failures of other companies in the same space. Bill Gates once said, “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” Microsoft will use their expertise to try to find an easy way to capitalise on the opportunities available while avoiding pitfalls.

Microsoft is not the only company investing in the Metaverse. Companies like Apple and Google are also developing Metaverse products. The competition for a piece of the Metaverse market is heating up, and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.

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