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Microsoft is abandoning its industrial metaverse group just four months after its initiation.
The Industrial Metaverse Core group was a division of the computer giant established to bring offer metaverse solutions for industrial environments. Potential clients included health care, retail financial services and energy.
About 100 members of the group have been laid off as part of Microsoft's 10,000 employee layoff announced last month, according to CoinDesk. The company is reportedly prioritizing short-term projects.
Nonetheless, Microsoft said it still remains "committed to the industrial metaverse."
In an email to CoinDesk, Microsoft said it is "applying focus to the areas of the industrial metaverse that matter most to our customers and they will see no change in how they are supported."
On 23 January 2023, the company disclosed a “multi-year, multibillion-dollar investment” in ChatGPT creator Openai. Microsoft further announced that Chatgpt will be included in its flagship search engine Bing and web browser Edge.
Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, stated, "AI will fundamentally change every software category, starting with the largest category of all – search."
Microsoft's job cut and axing of its metaverse arm follows a series of bad news for the metaverse industry.
Earlier this month, Meta revealed that its metaverse arm Reality Labs suffered a whopping loss of US$13.7 billion in 2022, compared to a loss of US$10.2 billion in 2021.
Worse still, Meta CFO Susan Li said Reality Labs expects losses to deepen throughout the year. “On Reality Labs, we still expect our full year Reality Labs losses to increase in 2023, and we are going to continue to invest meaningfully in this area given the significant long-term opportunities that we see,” Li said on the earnings call.
The news came just months after Meta announced a 11,000 employee layoff in November.
Nonetheless, 2023's outlook for the metaverse is still positive. George Wong, growth head of Singapore for The Sandbox said Meta's problem was that they "tried to do everything themselves."
It's not that Meta was building a metaverse, that wasn't the problem. It was how much they spent, and how little they got. That's why they had cost cutting deductions to manage their bottom line."
Wong described 2023 as an "important and pivotal year for metaverse growth."
According to Coin Kick Off's study The Meta-Verdict: Metaverse Interest and Sentiment Around the World, Filipinos are the most interested in the metaverse.
Wei Zhou, current CEO of Coins.ph and former CFO of Binance explained that the Philippines is one of the top countries in the world for crypto adoption in terms of NFT trading and general token ownership, a phenomenon that has been amplified by the pandemic.