Meta’s Quest Could Be the New BlackBerry

Salvador Rodriguez, Wall Street Journal:

Meta Platforms is hoping Apple’s launch of the Vision Pro can reinvigorate its $50 billion metaverse effort, which consumers have yet to widely embrace.


Meta employees see the Quest and its software ecosystem emerging as a primary alternative to Apple in the space, filling the role played by Google’s Android in smartphones, the people said.

The success or, more likely, failure of Meta’s concept of a metaverse should be viewed separately from its ability to sell headsets. If Meta wants to position them as one and the same, it is a less appealing concept to me. One of the things Apple has done very well with the first generation Vision Pro is positioning it as familiar and expected within its futuristic context.

David Heaney, UploadVR:

Android is a semi-open software platform. Any phone maker can integrate the open-source core of Android for free and without permission, and can integrate Google’s services and the Google Play Store by agreeing to certain compatibility criteria and preinstalling Google’s suite of apps.

The Meta Quest platform on the other hand is exclusive to Meta’s own devices. Its strategy is more akin to wanting to be a second Apple than what Google did with Android. That sounds more like BlackBerry than Android, and the market combination of iPhone and Android killed off BlackBerry.

Via Charles Arthur:

Note this implicitly accepts the Vision Pro as the iPhone of XR, which is possible – but it might be the iPad.

If it is the iPad of this world, it implies it may be the leader in a market the public seems uncertain about. Sales-wise, it may not be a bad thing for Apple, but it does require buy-in in a sector where non-tech people seem hesitant. There is a difference between financial success and cultural success.

I noted above the familiarity of the Vision Pro — how it is a benefit that, if you have used an Apple device, you know the apps and services which will be on it. That expectation also applies to the company behind it. Apple is a known quantity. Buyers can be reasonably confident their $3,500 headset will not be abandoned after a couple of years. Meta, conversely, has a poor track record for hardware: its phone collaboration sucked and it scrapped its latest efforts by way of the Portal and an in-development watch. Apparently, it will not be making a second-generation Quest Pro. It has an Apple-like approach to hardware and software integration while taking a Google-like approach to product development. I bet that is not a successful long-term strategy.