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Microsoft’s Industrial Metaverse Project to see the Sunset 

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  • Microsoft terminated the Industrial Meverse Core Group team of 100 employees. 
  • This was part of a 10,000 layoffs round announced on January 18, 2023. 

Metaverse is the next big thing; every tech giant is trying to get the biggest slice of the pie. While some are succeeding, some are struggling. Mostly due to the slower economy and adoption rate. Microsoft had announced that they would be shutting down their ambitious project, which was focused on developing and promoting the industrial metaverse. 

Microsoft & Industrial Metaverse

A recent report suggests that the software giant had terminated the complete Industrial Metaverse core team of 100 employees, which sadly became part of 10,000-person layoff rounds initiated in January 2022. 

The Washington-based giant is abandoning this to encourage other initiatives. Media reports hint that the company internally announced the departure of the Industrial Metaverse Core group, a division solely focused on bringing the metaverse to industrial environments. 

The ambitious core group was formed just four months ago and worked as a platform for implementing metaverse interfaces for controlling electrical power plants, transportation networks, and industrial robotics. The division was supposed to be a part of the efforts to transfer the industrial environment into the metaverse by linking the required software to the cause. 

Even though the core group needed to be laid off, their work would not go in vain as the products and software built by them would carry on be supported in the future; further discussing the matter company said:

“We are applying our 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. We look forward to sharing additional information in the future.”

From Metaverse to Artificial Intelligence

Microsoft had always known where to focus; when everyone was building hardware, they focused on software and provided the world with the best and most widely used operating system. This decision could also hint at shifting the focus from Metaverse to artificial intelligence (AI). 

Recent layoffs were supposed to affect various VR and Metaverse projects, where the employees from their metaverse platform called AltspaceVR have announced their closing by March 2023; the test at Mixed Reality Toolkit is also shown at the exit door. 

The software giant is apparently diverting their funds to AI-based startups from January 2023. Recently Microsoft declared a “multi-year, multibillion-dollar investment” on Openai on January 23, 2023. It is the company behind the development of GPT-3 and the wildly famous ChatGPT interface. The partnership would also work on merging ChatGPT with their search engine Bing and would also be a part of their web browser Edge. 

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, stated:

“AI will fundamentally change every software category, starting with the largest category of all – search.”

Were the layoffs targeted?

On January 18, Microsoft announced their latest rounds for 10,000 layoffs, which is 5% of their global workforce. However, the company says the decision is to align its cost structure with the revenue and customer demand. But these layoffs seem to be targeted in the sectors of metaverse and VR, suggesting a deceleration of Microsoft’s train of this track. 

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