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Microsoft loses HoloLens team members to Meta and rival metaverse companies

HoloLens and Microsoft Windows logo
HoloLens and Microsoft Windows logo (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Members of the approximately 1,500-person strong Microsoft HoloLens team have been leaving.
  • Many of them have transitioned to rival augmented reality company, Meta.
  • Apple has also seen some of its workers transition to Meta.

As its new name would imply, Meta (formerly Facebook) is going all-in on the metaverse. In order to do that, it needs employees, the likes of which it appears to be gathering in part from rival companies Apple and Microsoft.

In Microsoft's case, it has a team dedicated to HoloLens that measures roughly 1,500 people large. However, that team has been shrinking, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. Approximately 100 people have abandoned the home of HoloLens, with over 40 transitioning to work at Meta.

This comes at a time when Microsoft not only has its commercial-facing HoloLens endeavors to worry about, but also the IVAS project for the U.S. Army. That project recently saw a delay.

According to the WSJ report, former employees said Microsoft hadn't hired enough engineers to keep up with the strain IVAS is putting on company resources. And further employee departures won't help matters, either.

Apple's team members are also cited as part of the defector wave, with former Apple employees joining Meta. Meta did not comment to WSJ about its recruiting practices.

With all that being said, at least publicly speaking, Microsoft has made it clear the metaverse is a focus. Meta snapping up Redmond's employees may, to some, suggest that one company values the world of augmented reality more and is willing to do more to ensure there's manpower behind it, but based on the publicly available information, both companies have their hands full with AR ambitions.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

8 Comments
  • There's several angles to this. MS probably has the talent, but it's not pushing the development in XR as aggressively as Facebook. And the latter have been unbelievable aggressive at it, dumping all their infinite money into it. So it's natural that the less loyal would flock to whoever is paying them more, even if it's that awful company. It's a disappointment because MS does have good things in the field, with the Hololens and their recent framework improvements. But it's not a race for someone who plays fair or slow.
  • You are right, it is a race to be the first to create a great input method. I have no idea what that looks like, but someone is going to eventually figure it out and own the market.
  • Sadly it looks like it's going to be Facebook.
  • However, Microsoft showcases a much more realistic and finished Version one while Facebook was still very in concept.
  • The other angle is software, primarily in regards Hololens it's UWA. Unfortunately, Microsoft has completely sidelined UWA so what else is Hololens going to run?
    Emulated Win32 packaged applications? *facepalm*. It makes more sense for Hololens to run ARM socs due to the limited power budget and heat dissipation. But, Microsoft also hasn't put much resources into Windows on ARM either....
  • Another good example for why MS should learn to focus on its initiatives, rather than stick its toe in the water, see what happens, and encourage each division to go their own way. Make a decision, then go all in, with all teams rowing in the same direction.
  • Well said. Microsoft seems to have this problem of test the market with half-baked product. Receives feedback that product is "ehh...half baked." decides no one wants it and cancels it.
  • I wonder what the brave new world brings. When chip shortage already has a detrimental effect on things like printer cartridge manufacturing, what future a new form of wearable has?