The future of the internet will hinge on the outcome of a battle between Apple and Meta, says Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
He told employees that the two companies had very different visions for the Metaverse and admitted it’s not yet clear which will be best …
Metaverse is a term coined by Neal Stephenson in the 1992 science fiction novel Snowfall. While there is no precise definition of the term, it encompasses the idea that the Internet exists as an immersive virtual world, accessible through a combination of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).
Facebook was the strongest proponent of the idea that the Metaverse represents the future of the Internet, while Apple did adopted a narrower point of view.
Apple’s industrial designers weren’t convinced that consumers would be willing to wear headphones for long periods of time.
We recently summarized what we think we know so far about Apple’s headphone plans, while a recent report suggests Meta is working on a somewhat similar headset called the Quest Pro.
The edge got a tape from Zuckerberg who made the remarks at a city hall meeting earlier this month.
Mark Zuckerberg believes Apple and his company are in a “very deep philosophical competition” to build the Metaverse, suggesting that the two tech giants are ready to clash in the sale of augmented and virtual reality hardware.
Meta’s CEO told employees earlier this month that they were competing with Apple to figure out “which direction the Internet should go in.”
“It’s a contest of philosophies and ideas, where they believe that by doing everything by themselves and integrating tightly, they are building a better customer experience. And we believe there is a lot to do in terms of specializing in different companies, and [that] it will allow the existence of a much larger ecosystem.
Surprisingly, while Meta’s CEO said he believes an open approach will create a larger metaverse ecosystem, he acknowledged that “it’s not very clear at first whether an open or closed ecosystem will be better.” He said Windows won the PC battle, while Apple was the best at mobile devices.
Zuckerberg also compared the two companies’ approaches to the price of their hardware.
Basically we deliver our devices at a cost or with a slight subsidy, or in some cases slightly higher than the cost. But the bottom line is that our business doesn’t primarily take a premium on devices.
You can read Zuckerberg’s full remarks on Apple’s upcoming headphone battle against Meta below:
I think it’s pretty clear that Apple will be a competitor for us, not just as a product, but philosophically. We approach this in an open way and try to build a more open ecosystem. We are trying to make things more interoperable with Android. We are trying to develop the metaverse in such a way that you can take your virtual assets from one world to another. We created the Metaverse Open Standards Group with a group of other people you just mentioned and Apple didn’t join. But I don’t think it’s a surprise. Apple has been the closed computer vendor for several generations now.
It’s a contest of philosophies and ideas, in which they believe that by doing everything yourself and integrating tightly, they build a better consumer experience. And we believe there is a lot to do in terms of specializing in different companies, and [that] it will allow the existence of a much larger ecosystem.
One of the things I find interesting is that it’s not very clear from the start whether an open or closed ecosystem will be better. If you look at PCs, Windows was clearly the one that was much larger in size and became the default standard used by people. And the Mac worked fine, but I think PC and Windows were, I believe, the first ecosystem in that environment.
On the mobile I would say that it is quite the opposite. There are more Android devices than iOS devices, but I think in developed countries and in places like the US or Western Europe, it’s a bit top of the line, [and] many culture creators and developers, I think it leans a little more towards iPhone and iOS. So I would say that Apple has truly carved out a good position on mobile devices, which is why it is the most valuable company in the world, or perhaps one of the two most valuable companies in the world.
But I don’t think the future is still written here for the metaverse. And I think part of our job is to continue to do cutting-edge research and carry it forward at all levels of the stack. We do VR. We do AR. Basically we deliver our devices at a cost or with a slight subsidy, or in some cases slightly higher than the cost. But the bottom line is that our business doesn’t primarily take a premium on devices. We want as many people as possible to interact in this. Part of this makes it an open and interoperable ecosystem.
Our guiding star is whether we can get a billion people in the metaverse to earn hundreds of dollars each in digital commerce by the end of the decade? If we do, we will create a business as big as our current advertising business this decade. I think it’s something really exciting. I think a lot of how you do this is to move the open metaverse forward, which we’re going to do.
So yes, Apple will be a competitor. I think it’s pretty clear, but it’s actually a pretty serious contender. He is not alone [that] they have a device that has more functions than us. It’s a very deep philosophical competition as to which direction the internet should go. And I’m proud of the investments we’re making to help advance the open metaverse on this and hopefully make the next version of computing a little more open.
Photo: Julien Tromeur / Unsplash
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