A partnership between Magic Leap and Meta might be on the cards, but why?

According to the Financial Times, Meta is in talks with Magic Leap, an AR headset company, to look into licensing the latter's tech.
Christopher McFadden
Could the partnership lead to a Meta-own headset?

Nongnuch Pitakkorn/iStock 

Meta is reportedly in talks with a company called Magic Leap with an eye to a partnership that could see Meta developing its alternative reality (AR) headset in the future.

According to the Financial Times, the two are negotiating a multi-year intellectual property (IP) and manufacturing alliance. The report's timing is significant for a few reasons.

Meta is facing investor pressure to demonstrate the results of its substantial investments in pursuing CEO Mark Zuckerberg's vision for the future of computing, namely the so-called "Metaverse." And this, many experts believe, could become a huge thing in the future.

"Facebook has been pushing the use case for its social possibilities in particular, whereby groups of friends can ‘meet up’ and watch a film together or watch a live performer. You’re able to see the live movements and reactions of your friends around you, and as the AR, VR, and haptic technologies improve, the level of definition on that will mean it really will feel like you’re sitting together as a group. So that stands to be something of a game-changer," explained James Coop to IE.

The company does not anticipate generating profits from its metaverse projects for a few more years. Meanwhile, it is spending approximately $10 billion each year on its "Reality Labs" division. Additionally, many anticipate Apple to enter the AR headset market during its upcoming WWDC developer conference next month.

This, among other things, could well be the driving force behind this development. There is limited information available about the negotiations, but sources suggest that a partnership between Magic Leap and Meta could soon be a reality. However, it is unlikely that the two companies will jointly develop a headset. Instead, the deal may involve Magic Leap sharing some of its optical technology with Meta. Additionally, there is a possibility that Meta could receive assistance from Magic Leap in the manufacturing of their devices.

This partnership would enable Meta to produce more VR headsets domestically, which is becoming increasingly important as U.S. companies aim to reduce their reliance on China. Magic Leap told the Financial Times that partnerships were becoming a “significant line of business and growing opportunity for Magic Leap.”

Last year, Magic Leap's CEO Peggy Johnson wrote a blog post entitled "What's Next for Magic Leap" where she shared the company's future plans. Within she said that the company had “received an incredible amount of interest from across the industry to license our IP and utilize our patented manufacturing process to produce optics for others seeking to launch their own mixed-reality technology.”

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