Magic Leap AR Headset Aims for “Coopetition” with Microsoft

Augmented reality (AR) technology is progressing faster than ever, and enterprises are eagerly looking for ways that it could enhance their business — and Magic Leap is ready to jump in head-first. Founded in 2010, the startup is set to commercially release the next generation of its platform, Magic Leap 2, to these tech-hungry enterprises, engaging in a “coopetition” with its biggest rival, Microsoft. Rather than developing a consumer device for gaming, the company’s signature headset is designed to guide professionals through work procedures or practice complex operations in AR before tackling them in the real world.

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The lightweight Magic Leap 2 headset has been upgraded with new software and sensors, strengthening its capabilities for enterprise tasks. It’s already been tested at Lowe's home improvement stores for restocking products and improving inventory, one of many applications Magic Leap sees for its headset. Its primary competition, Microsoft’s HoloLens, has had its share of issues, but CTO Julie Larson-Green sees opportunities for “coopetition” with the tech giant. Both she and the startup’s CEO, Peggy Johnson, are former Microsoft executives, giving them unique insight into how to contend in the AR market.

In particular, Larson-Green referenced Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella when explaining her thoughts on the competition in the AR field:

“If you use Satya’s thinking, it’s like a growth mindset of embracing the competition, or the coopetition with those guys. Some of the product teams have been in our EAP [Early Access Program] really early on, trying to develop the things that they develop for HoloLens on Magic Leap devices,” Larson-Green said.

“We’re working on some ways to interact — you know, to integrate with Teams and other things. So, we talk with folks there all the time,” she continued. “I think competition is good, especially in a new space where we’re all trying to invent and find product markets. We can learn from each other . . . I have nothing but love for those guys.”