In a move deemed not at all surprising to many industry pundits, Magic Leap, who led the charge to bring Augmented Reality (or Spatial Computing) to consumers everywhere, laid off roughly 1000 employees in a recent restructuring.
1000 Difficult Decisions
The Florida-based company announced this week that it will “decrease investments in areas where the market has been slower to develop,” and confirmed that it will cease consumer-aimed efforts and instead focus entirely on enterprise and industrial markets.
CEO Rony Abovtiz made the “difficult decision to lay off a number of employees across Magic Leap,” noting the “changes will occur at every level of our company, from [Abovitz’s] direct reports to factory employees,” as access to investment capital has dwindled during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Collaborate or Collapse
Magic Leap’s official announcement points to the current COVID-19 pandemic as the main obstacle to continued investment capital being available, while also suggesting the consumer market for Augmented Reality isn’t where it should be. That, however, is debatable. COVID-19 has radically changed our approach to remote work and many companies are managing to capitalize on this new market of telecommuters. In fact, Magic Leap is attempting to join them with its Magic Leap Collaboration Package, a 45-day trial of four Magic Leap 1 devices priced at $5000.
Apparently now looking at a partnership with a major health-care company, Magic Leap could bring its existing tech into health-care and industrial enterprise areas. The forthcoming Magic Leap 2 has already been described as an enterprise offering and not the consumer-aimed release its predecessor was. Now that the company has restructured with a leaner, meaner focus of energies on enterprise solutions, Magic Leap now must maintain and actually deliver on the huge promise it once showed.