Mark Zuckerberg says WhatsApp business chat will drive revenue and undercut the billions spent on virtual reality

Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg said WhatsApp and Messenger will drive the company’s sales growth — even though the company has invested at least $36 billion in the metaverse.

In a company-wide meeting Thursday, he described the two apps as “very early monetization” compared to the massive cash flow generated by ads on Facebook and Instagram.

The CEO sought to address employee concerns and address questions raised a week after the tech giant laid off 11,000 workers.

“We talk a lot about very long-term opportunities like the metaverse, but the reality is that commercial messaging is likely to be the next major pillar of our business as we work to monetize WhatsApp and Messenger more,” he said. According to statements heard by Reuters.

Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg said WhatsApp and Messenger will drive the company’s sales growth — even though the company has invested at least $36 billion in the metaverse. Above: Mark Zuckerberg is seen on a leaked video call telling CEOs he’s going to lay off 11,000 dead workers

Meta enables some consumers to talk to and interact with merchants through chat apps, including a new feature announced Thursday in Brazil.

His comments mark a significant shift from his focus over the past year on making huge investments in the company’s plans for virtual reality and augmented reality hardware, and publicly promoting them.

The digital world that doesn’t yet exist is intended to be a place where people can shop, live, and work someday by being accessed using AR and VR devices — and Zuckerberg has previously said he wants to eventually have 1 billion people spending money on digital goods.

What is Metaverse?

A “metaverse” is a collection of virtual spaces where you can play, work, and communicate with others who are not in the same physical space as you.

Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg has been a leading voice on the concept, which is seen as the future of the internet and will blur the lines between the physical and the digital.

“You’ll be able to hang out with friends, work, play, learn, shop, be creative, and more,” Meta said.

“It’s not necessarily about spending more time online – it’s about making the time you spend online more rewarding.”

While Meta is leading the charge with the metaverse, it has made it clear that it is not a single product that one company can build.

She added, “Just like the Internet, meaning exists whether Facebook is there or not.”

It will not be built overnight. Many of these products will only be fully realized in the next ten to fifteen years.

Wall Street has questioned the wisdom of that decision as primary advertising firm Meta has suffered this year, halving its share price and prompting some critics to call on Zuckerberg to step down.

In his comments to employees, Zuckerberg downplayed the company’s spending in Reality Labs, the unit responsible for its indirect investments.

People were Meta’s biggest expense, he said, followed by capital expenditures, the vast majority of which went to infrastructure to support its suite of social media apps. About 20% of Meta’s budget was going to Reality Labs.

Zuckerberg said the unit was spending more than half of its budget within Reality Labs on augmented reality (AR), with smart glasses products continuing to appear “over the next few years” and some “really cool” AR glasses later in the decade. .

“This is in some ways the most challenging work…but I also think it’s the potentially most valuable part of the job over time,” he said.

AR glasses should be more useful than mobile phones to attract potential customers and meet a higher standard of attractiveness, said Andrew Bosworth, the chief technology officer who runs Reality Labs.

Bosworth said he was wary of developing “industrial applications” for the hardware, describing it as “niche”, and wanted to remain focused on building for a wide audience.

Mita still faces plenty of headwinds in the wake of its first large-scale layoffs.

According to documents seen by The Wall Street Journal, Meta is struggling to reach its goals.

The company planned to reach 500,000 users of its virtual reality platform, Horizon Worlds, by the end of 2022. The number at the time of writing was less than 200,000, still well short of the revised target of 280,000 by the end of 2022.

The documentation also reveals that the majority of these 200,000 users, do not return after entering the system once with many complaining that most areas are stripped of other users.

These documents also reveal: Since the spring of 2022, the number of Horizon Worlds users has decreased. Less than ten percent of the worlds in the Metaverse receive more than 50 visitors and most of these worlds do not receive any visitors.

The disappointing performance comes as the Meta grapples with slowing global economic growth, competition from TikTok, privacy changes from Apple, concerns about massive metaverse spending and the ever-present threat of regulation.

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