Meta reportedly in talks with Magic Leap for IP licensing and manufacturing


Facebook’s parent company, Meta Platforms Inc., is reportedly in talks with augmented reality startup Magic Leap Inc. as part of its pursuit of creating the metaverse.

The Financial Times reported today that Meta is exploring a potential multiyear agreement with Magic Leap, focusing on intellectual property licensing and contract manufacturing in North America. The collaboration is aimed at leveraging Magic Leap’s expertise in producing custom components, including advanced lenses and associated software — key technologies required for building the metaverse.

The metaverse, a concept obsessively pursued by Meta Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, refers to an immersive online world filled with avatars where people can interact, work and play in a virtual environment. The idea is to transcend the boundaries of the physical world, enabling users to engage in various digital experiences and social interactions.

Although the FT report said the talks are still in the early stages, sources familiar with the matter have indicated that the partnership is not expected to result in the development of a joint Meta-Magic Leap headset. Instead, Meta is said to be interested in tapping into Magic Leap’s capabilities to enhance its mainstream augmented reality product offerings.

Magic Leap, which surprisingly still exists, is known for its advanced “waveguides” technology, allowing for thin glass to generate immersive and realistic AR images at different depths. Despite failing to appeal to a consumer market, Magic Leap in 2023 has shifted focus to enterprise applications.

The company launched Magic Leap 2 in September last year. It’s a mixed reality headset that builds upon the technology of its predecessor. It offers a range of features such as enhanced visual capabilities, improved comfort and integration with enterprise applications, positioning it as a tool for professional and industrial use in design, healthcare and training.

The discussions between Meta and Magic Leap are taking place as Apple Inc. is expected to enter into the mixed reality realm next month at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. The long-awaited Apple headset debut will arguably highlight the stakes for other tech companies, such as Meta, that are betting on AR and virtual reality headsets as the next big computing platform.

Image: Meta

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