Just weeks after social media giant Facebook adopted the corporate name Meta, Microsoft is attempting to jump to the head of the metaverse race. One of the highlights of Meta’s rebranding has been CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s emphatic push of a virtual ecosystem called a “metaverse,” which his company is purportedly planning to build. Microsoft, one of the other “Big Tech” companies in Meta’s echelon, is incorporating Mesh—a collaborative platform for virtual experiences—for Microsoft Teams. The 2022 integration will be free to Teams users, who will be able to create 3D avatars, private virtual spaces, and much more.
Much like the billionaire space race led by Tesla’s Elon Musk and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the development and acceleration of the metaverse now sets Microsoft and Meta on a virtual (and very real) collision course. Although everyday users look forward to creating their own digital environments, businesses are hoping to leverage the technology to create a new standard for virtualizing offices, board rooms, and departments. With Mesh for Microsoft Teams, some workforces will get a sneak preview of a potential VR workplace sooner than later—and likely before Meta does the same for a new virtually-social media.