Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Meta Platforms Inc., assured staff on Thursday that the company’s next wave of sales growth would be driven by WhatsApp and Messenger in an effort to allay financial worries following its first round of mass layoffs.
A week after Meta announced it would lay off 11,000 employees, Zuckerberg responded to pointed questions at a company-wide meeting by describing the two messaging apps as being “very early in monetizing” in comparison to its advertising juggernauts Facebook and Instagram, comments heard by Reuters.
“We talk a lot about the very long-term opportunities like the metaverse, but the reality is that business messaging is probably going to be the next major pillar of our business as we work to monetize WhatsApp and Messenger more,” he said.
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When contacted for comment regarding the internal forum on Thursday, the company did not respond right away.
Since announcing a long-term goal to develop an immersive metaverse last year, Zuckerberg has heavily invested in extended reality hardware and software. His comments there reflect a change in tone and emphasis.
As Meta’s core advertising business has struggled this year, more than halving its stock price, investors have questioned the wisdom of that choice.
In his remarks to staff members, Zuckerberg downplayed the amount of money the business was investing in Reality Labs, the department in charge of its investments in the metaverse.
According to him, capital expenditures were Meta’s second-largest expense, with the vast majority going to infrastructure to support its family of social media apps. Personnel costs were Meta’s biggest expense. Reality Labs received about 20% of the budget allocated to Meta.
With smart glasses products continuing to develop “over the next few years” and some “truly great” AR glasses later in the decade, Reality Labs was spending more than half of its budget on augmented reality (AR), according to Zuckerberg.
“This is in some ways is the most challenging work … but I also think it’s the most valuable potential part of the work over time,” he said.
Virtual reality accounted for about 40% of Reality Labs’ spending, while futuristic social platforms like the virtual world it calls Horizon received about 10%.
Reality Labs’ chief technology officer Andrew Bosworth said that in order for AR glasses to attract potential customers and pass a higher standard for attractiveness, they must be more functional than mobile phones.
Bosworth stated that he was hesitant to create “industrial applications” for the devices, referring to those as “niche,” and instead wanted to concentrate on creating for a large audience.
(Adapted from EconomicTimes.com)