Mark Zuckerberg says WhatsApp business chat will generate revenue and minimize billions spent on VR

Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg said WhatsApp and Messenger will drive the company’s sales growth – although the company has invested at least $36 billion in the Metaverse.

In a company-wide meeting on Thursday, he described the two apps as “very early in monetization” compared to the massive cash flow generated by advertising on Facebook and Instagram.

The CEO sought to address employee fears and answer pointed questions a week after the tech giant laid off 11,000 workers.

“We talk a lot about very long-term opportunities like the metaverse, but the reality is that enterprise messaging will likely be the next major pillar of our business as we work to further monetize WhatsApp and Messenger,” he said. said, according to comments heard by Reuters.

Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg said WhatsApp and Messenger will drive the company’s sales growth – although the company has invested at least $36 billion in the Metaverse. Above: Mark Zuckerberg is seen in a leaked video call telling executives he will lay off 11,000 Meta workers

Meta allows select consumers to talk and transact with merchants through chat apps, including a new feature announced Thursday in Brazil.

His comments are quite a reversal from his focus last year on massive investment and public promotion of the company’s plans for virtual and augmented reality hardware for the Metaverse.

The all-digital world that doesn’t yet exist is meant to be a place where people can shop, live and work one day by accessing it with AR and VR devices – and Zuckerberg has previously said he wants there to be. a billion people spending money on digital goods eventually.

What is the Metaverse?

The “metaverse” is a collection of virtual spaces where you can play, work, and communicate with others who are not in the same physical space as you.

Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg has been a leading voice on the concept, which is seen as the future of the internet and would blur the lines between physical and digital.

“You’ll be able to hang out with friends, work, play, learn, shop, create, and more,” Meta said.

“It’s not necessarily about spending more time online, it’s about making the time you spend online more meaningful.”

While Meta is leading the charge with the Metaverse, he explained that it’s not a one-size-fits-all product that a company can create.

“Just like the internet, the metaverse exists whether Facebook is there or not,” he added.

“And it won’t be built overnight. Many of these products will only be fully realized in the next 10 to 15 years.

Wall Street questioned the wisdom of the move as Meta’s core advertising business struggled this year, halving its stock price and leading some critics to call on Zuckerberg to step down.

In his comments to employees, Zuckerberg downplayed the company’s spending on Reality Labs, the unit responsible for its investments in the metaverse.

People were Meta’s biggest expense, followed by capital spending, the vast majority of which went to infrastructure to support its suite of social media apps, he said. About 20% of Meta’s budget went to Reality Labs.

Within Reality Labs, the unit was spending more than half of its budget on augmented reality (AR), with smart glasses products continuing to emerge “over the next few years” and “really awesome” AR glasses more late in the decade, Zuckerberg said.

“It’s in some ways the hardest job…but I also think it’s the potentially most valuable part of the job over time,” he said.

CTO Andrew Bosworth, who runs Reality Labs, said AR glasses need to be more useful than cellphones in attracting potential customers and hitting a higher attractiveness bar.

Bosworth said he was worried about developing “industrial applications” for the devices, describing that as a “niche”, and wanted to stay focused on building for a wide audience.

Meta still faces many headwinds following its first ever widespread layoffs.

According to documents seen by the Wall Street Journal, Meta is struggling to achieve its goals.

The company planned to reach 500,000 users of its virtual reality platform, Horizon Worlds, by the end of 2022. The number at the time of writing is less than 200,000, still well below a revised target of 280,000 by the end of 2022.

The documents also reveal that the majority of those 200,000 users do not return after entering the system once, with many complaining that most areas are devoid of other users.

These documents also reveal: since the spring of 2022, the number of Horizon Worlds users has been declining. Less than ten percent of worlds in the metaverse receive more than 50 visitors, and the majority of these worlds receive no visitors.

The disappointing performance comes as Meta grapples with slowing global economic growth, competition from TikTok, privacy changes from Apple, concerns over massive spending on the Metaverse and the ever-present threat of regulation.