Meta is in a “very deep, philosophical competition” with Apple over the future of technology and the metaverse, the social network’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees at an internal meeting last month, reported by The edge.
It’s no secret that Meta and Apple have been competitors for several years, with the rivalry growing in recent years over privacy and different approaches to user tracking. The competition is expected to intensify as both companies appear to be taking different approaches to the “metaverse” and AR/VR. While Meta has begun its journey into the “Metaverse,” unveiling its vision for the future of the web and launching companion VR headsets, Apple has yet to make a major entry into the AR/VR space.
That’s about to change, however, as Apple is close to launching its first AR/VR headset early next year. When asked by an employee how Apple’s launch of an AR/VR headset might affect Meta’s plan, Zuckerberg responded by saying it’s “pretty clear that Apple is going to be a competitor for us.” Zuckerberg continued, saying the competition will not only feature the best AR/VR hardware, but will also evolve “philosophically.”
I think it’s pretty clear that Apple is going to be a competitor for us, not just as a product but philosophically. We’re approaching this openly and trying to build a more open ecosystem. We’re trying to make more things interoperable with Android. We are trying to develop the metaverse in such a way that you can bring your virtual goods from one world to another. We started the Metaverse Open Standards Group with a few other people you just mentioned, and Apple didn’t join.
This is a contest of “ideas,” Zuckerberg further claimed at the June 30 meeting. Apple believes in “doing everything ourselves and integrating that tightly to create a better customer experience,” he said. On the other hand, Meta sees the need for a “larger ecosystem to exist”.
However, Zuckerberg admits that it’s unclear whether a “closed ecosystem” that Apple claims to have, or an open ecosystem from Meta would be better suited to the Metaverse.
Among other things, I find it interesting that it is not really clear in advance whether an open or closed ecosystem is better. If you look back at PCs, Windows was clearly the one that was much bigger and became the standard and norm that people used. And Mac did well, but I think PC and Windows were the most important ecosystem in that environment in my opinion.
On mobile, I’d say it’s more the other way around. There are more Android devices than iOS devices, but I think more high-end in developed countries and places like the US or Western Europe. [and] A lot of the culture makers and developers, I think that’s leaning quite a bit more towards the iPhone and iOS. So I’d say that Apple has really carved out a pretty good position for themselves in mobile, and that’s why they’re the most valuable company in the world, or maybe one of the most valuable companies in the world.
Zuckerberg said that Meta’s North Star should be and is whether it will be able to take over a billion people to the metaverse, shop and spend hundreds of dollars in digital commerce.
Our North Star is, by the end of the decade, can we get a billion people into the metaverse doing hundreds of dollars apiece in digital commerce? If we do that, within that decade we will build a business as big as our current ad business. I think that’s a really exciting thing. I think a big part of how you’re doing that is pushing the open metaverse, which is what we’re going to do.
Concluding his answer to the question, Zuckerberg summarized that Meta’s competition with Apple goes beyond the mere metaverse, but also the future of the internet as a whole.
So yes, Apple will be a competitor. I think that’s pretty clear, but it’s actually a very strong competitor. It is not just [that] They have a device that has more features than we do. It’s a very deep, philosophical contest about which direction the internet should go. And I’m proud of the investments we’re making to help drive the open metaverse forward and hopefully make the next version of computing a little more open.
You can learn more about Apple’s AR/VR plans by visiting our comprehensive roundup.