Facebook Owner Meta Tells Metaverse Staff To Prepare For Layoffs
Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc. is preparing cutbacks in its Reality Labs division, a unit at the center of the company's strategy to refocus on hardware products and the "metaverse," a spokesperson confirmed to Katie Paul of Reuters.
Photo Insert: At the same time, Mark Zuckerberg has warned that it may take about a decade for the metaverse bets to pay off, and Reality Labs has bled cash.
Chief Technology Officer Andrew Bosworth told Reality Labs staffers during a weekly Q&A session on Tuesday to expect the changes to be announced within a week, according to a summary of his comments viewed by Reuters.
The Meta spokesperson confirmed that Bosworth told staffers the division could not afford to do some projects anymore and would have to postpone others, without specifying which projects would be affected. But she said Meta was not planning layoffs as part of the changes.
Meta lowered its expected 2022 total expenses to between $87 billion and $92 billion, down from its prior outlook of between $90 billion and $95 billion. Last week, it told employees it was reducing hiring for most mid-to-senior-level positions, as initially reported by Insider.
The 18-year-old tech giant has invested heavily in Reality Labs, which grew out of its Oculus virtual reality business and now encompasses work on augmented reality, smart glasses, Portal video-calling devices, and enterprise tech solutions.
The unit is also building a mixed reality headset with face and eye tracking called Project Cambria, which Zuckerberg previewed in a post on his Facebook page on Wednesday.
hose investments are aimed at positioning Meta as a gateway to the metaverse, a universe of immersive, shared, interconnected digital worlds which Zuckerberg said he believes will be the successor to the mobile internet.
The company changed its name in October to reflect its metaverse aims and has hired extensively to staff Reality Labs, adding more than 13,000 employees last year and nearly 6,000 in the first quarter this year.
At the same time, Zuckerberg has warned that it may take about a decade for the metaverse bets to pay off, and Reality Labs has bled cash. The unit lost $10.2 billion in 2021 and another $3 billion in the first quarter of this year.
Zuckerberg told investors last month that he still aims over the next several years to generate enough income growth from legacy apps Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp to fund investments in Reality Labs while continuing to grow profits overall. "Unfortunately, that's not going to happen in 2022," he said.