Mark Zuckerberg has declared that Meta and Apple are in a “competition of philosophies and ideas” over the metaverse, and that he’s not sure which approach is better.
As The Verge reports, when asked by a Meta employee how Apple’s closely guarded AR glasses might impact the Oculus ecosystem during an all-hands meeting, Zuckerberg had some interesting things to say.
He took the angle that “Apple is going to be a competitor for us, not just as a product but philosophically”, before essentially equating Meta’s position to Google’s in the smartphone market and Microsoft’s in the home computing market before that.
In both cases, Apple took on a major rival by locking down hardware and software design and creating more cohesive but walled-off products. Microsoft (with Windows) and Google (with Android) created a more open software platform for numerous hardware partners to build for.
“We’re approaching this in an open way and trying to build a more open ecosystem,” said Zuckerberg, as opposed to Apple belief “that by doing everything themselves and tightly integrating that they build a better consumer experience”.
You might have expected the Meta chief to then spend some time vouching for his company’s more open, inclusive approach. But he didn’t.
In the metaverse, Zuckberg claims that “it’s not really clear upfront whether an open or closed ecosystem is going to be better.”
In terms of the home computing era, he believes that “Windows was clearly the one that had a lot more scale and became the default and norm that people used”. When it comes to smartphones, however, “Apple has really carved out quite a good position for themselves, and that’s why they’re the most valuable company in the world”.
In short, Zuckerberg feels that the two companies are locked into “a very deep, philosophical competition about what direction the internet should go in”. Those are some pretty high stakes.