Meta and Apple are entering a period of “extremely deep philosophical competition” that will determine the future of the internet, according to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s comments obtained by The Verge.
Both Apple and Meta plan to invest heavily in mixed reality over the next decade, but they have diametrically opposed visions of what an ideal AR/VR/XR landscape should look like.
The Verge has obtained an audio recording of a comprehensive staff meeting at Meta, in which Zuckerberg answered an employee’s question about the company’s future competition with Apple in great detail. His comments shed some light on how Meta sees, at least, the rivalry.
“I think it’s very clear that Apple is going to be a competitor to us, not just as a product but philosophically,” Zuckerberg said. “We’re approaching this in an open way and trying to build a more open ecosystem.” He noted that Meta co-founded the Metaverse Open Standards Group with other companies such as Microsoft, with the goal of creating a certain level of interoperability, or portability of assets between virtual spaces. Apple did not join, and Zuckerberg said “I don’t think that’s a surprise.”
This is a competition for philosophies and ideas, where they believe that by doing everything themselves and integrating tightly, they are building a better consumer experience. We believe there is a lot to be done in specialization across different companies, and [that] It would allow for a much larger ecosystem.
One of the things that I think is interesting is that it’s not really clear whether an open or closed ecosystem would be better. If you look at PCs, Windows obviously had a larger scale and became the default and the standard for people to use. The Mac did well, but I think PC and Windows were, I think, the first ecosystem in that environment.
On mobile, I’d say it’s completely different. There are more Android devices than iOS devices, but I think in developed countries and places like the US or Western Europe it’s kind of a high-end device, [and] A lot of cult authors and developers, I think this leans a little more towards the iPhone and iOS. So I say on mobile, Apple has really cared for themselves, which is why they are the most valuable company in the world, or perhaps one of the most valuable in the world.
Zuckerberg and Apple CEO Tim Cook have both said in the past that they believe augmented reality, virtual reality or mixed reality will be the next big computing platform, after the desktop and mobile eras.
Zuckerberg’s quotes suggest that while Apple follows the closed ecosystem as previously expected with the Mac (desktop) and iPhone (mobile), he sees Meta taking a more open role as Windows or Android for mixed reality.
But he also said, “I don’t think the future is written here yet for the metaverse,” admitting he doesn’t know if the strategy he’s betting on his entire company will ultimately be the right one.
He concluded his speech by saying:
Apple will be a competitor. I think that’s pretty obvious, but it’s actually a pretty deep contender. It’s not just [that] They have a device that has some more features than us. It is a very deep philosophical competition about which direction the Internet should go. And I’m proud of the investments we’re making to help drive the open equation around this and hopefully make the next version of computing more open.
According to leaks and analysts, Apple is getting close to preparing to launch its first mixed reality headset, which is a hybrid AR/VR device that will be built based on the company’s recent developments in chip design and sold at a higher price. The company also plans to launch an AR headset sometime in the next few years. .
Meta already owns the VR market in one form or another after acquiring Oculus with the popular Quest headset. Meta also plans to release a mixed reality headset soon – and plans to offer augmented reality glasses later, too.
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