On Thursday, October 28, 2021, during the Facebook Connect, augmented and virtual reality conference ( AR/VR conference), Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company has changed the name to Meta. The name change to Meta, from the the science fiction term "metaverse"", highlights the company’s focus on working and playing in a virtual world.
The now Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during the announcement “Today we are seen as a social media company, but in our DNA we are a company that builds technology to connect people, and the metaverse is the next frontier just like social networking was when we got started,” .
Meta, as a holding company, will include Facebook, as the main subsidiary, as well as its apps, including Instagram and WhatsApp, and Oculus, the virtual reality brand.
Based on Mark Zuckerberg statement, the vision of Meta is to build the “metaverse”. “We believe the metaverse will be the successor of the mobile internet. We’ll be able to feel present – like we’re right there with people no matter how far apart we actually are,” he said.
Hence the vision appears to be about building a digital world over the existing reality, by leveraging virtual reality headsets and augmented reality.
It is a long way ahead, but it appears the journey has started, since as he said “The best way to understand the metaverse is to experience it yourself", even though, “it doesn’t fully exist yet”.
In the most recent earnings reports, the share the virtual reality segment showed a significant growth. With the new structure under Meta, the revenues will be divided into two product categories: a “family of apps” composed of Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram, and the “reality labs”, to includes AR, VR, and related hardware.
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The plan is to reach at least 1 billion users within the next decade. The users will be able to use platform to invite friends over virtually, customize their avatars and digital spaces, decorate a digital office with pictures, videos and even books, directly interact with other users across the world, and cooperate on work presentations remotely. Grand-parents will be able "to feel like they’re right in the moment" when viewing the video of their grand-kids.
After the announcement, the FB stock that has been hit in the last two months, mostly due to the leak of controversial internal policies and dynamics, started to see some rebound, ending up with 1.51% for the day.
Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive officer of Facebook Inc. and now the CEO of Meta appeared to confirm that he may remain at the position. In 2017, he was rumored to run for US President in 2020 elections (see here: Will Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg Run for US President in 2020?). The rumors did not materialize and the Meta company may further challenge his future political ambitions.
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