Microsoft Disbands Industrial Metaverse Project: Report

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Microsoft (MSFT) has ended a project that aimed to encourage the use of the metaverse in industrial environments just four months after it was formed, according to a report by The Information on Thursday.

The 100 members of the team have been laid off, according to the report, citing a person with direct knowledge of the matter. The company wants to prioritize shorter-term projects over those needing longer to generate meaningful revenue, the person said.

The cuts form part of Microsoft's broader plan to lay off 10,000 employees, about 4.5% of its workforce, announced last month.

Microsoft formed the Industrial Metaverse Core team in October to work with clients in health care, retail financial services and energy, among other industries, in building software interfaces that could be used to drive metaverse-related projects.

The metaverse is a conceptual world where the internet theoretically becomes an immersive virtual environment that can be used for work, play, socializing, and events. While major companies such as Microsoft and Meta Platforms (META) – the former Facebook that renamed itself in 2021 to reflect its aspirations – demonstrate enthusiasm for the metaverse, for the time being it is in its early stages of development and thus remains largely theoretical.

"Microsoft remains committed to the industrial metaverse. We are applying our focus to the areas of the industrial metaverse that matter most to our customers and they will see no change in how they are supported. We look forward to sharing additional information in the future," Microsoft said in an emailed comment to CoinDesk.

Read more: Blockchain Startup Elrond Rebrands to Focus on Metaverse

UPDATE (Feb. 10, 14:30 UTC): Adds Microsoft comment.