When formerly Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the company would change its name to “Meta,” he made clear that they aspired to expand their presence into the meta-verse. This increasing presence in augmented reality technology required moving as quickly as possible, because many of the major tech companies like Meta, Apple, and Microsoft are all trying to take a leadership position in this space.
The meta-verse will be a virtual place enabled by augmented and virtual reality technologies where people will be able to play, learn, and shop. Augmented reality is different from virtual reality. Augmented reality begins with the user’s view of the real world and then overlays digital or 3D content onto it. Such technologies are more difficult to develop, but the industry predicts it will be a bigger market over time. As with just about any new technology, one determinant of success is timing: the early entrants have a competitive advantage. How does Meta plan on moving quickly into the meta-verse space, at least quicker than their competitors? It requires attracting the talent necessary to create the new technologies (not just software, but hardware such as the augmented reality headsets). And where will you find that talent? Of course, from the competitor companies who are working on the same ideas.
Apparently Meta has been targeting employees in Microsoft’s Hololens augmented reality team and incentivizing them to join their company. In fact, the LinkedIn profiles of 40 members of the Microsoft team (including a number of leaders of that team) indicate they have left to join Meta in the past year. In some cases, Meta offered to double the individual’s salary to attract them.
And it’s not just Microsoft; LinkedIn profiles indicate that Meta has gone after Apple employees. Industry analysts note that this war for specific types of talent is driving up costs throughout the industry.
Microsoft currently leads in the augmented reality space. Jitesh Ubrani, research manager at IDC states, “Until someone else ships another AR product, Microsoft still has a head start in the AR space.” But Meta seems to want to use Microsoft’s talent to fuel their own growth.
Questions for Students
1. What do you think is the future of the meta-verse? Will this catch on as a very popular product or experience?
2. Given how much money companies are spending to create the meta-verse, how do you think they will make money?
3. How does talent tie into strategy according to this story?
Note to Instructors
This is a great opportunity to highlight the link between talent and strategy. The strategy of building the meta-verse cannot be achieved without the right talent, and not enough of the right talent currently exists. This creates an almost cutthroat competition for that talent among the firms seeking to implement similar strategies.