Zuckerberg says WhatsApp Business Chat will drive sales faster than metaverse

Nov 17 (Reuters) – Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg told employees on Thursday that WhatsApp and Messenger will drive the company’s next wave of sales growth as he tries to ease concerns over Meta Platforms Inc (META.O). Financial concerns after first mass layoffs.

A week after Meta said it would cut 11,000 jobs, Zuckerberg answered pointed questions at a company-wide meeting, describing the two messaging apps as rivals to ad giants Facebook and Instagram, based on comments he heard. Compared to “start profitable very early” in Reuters.

“We talk a lot about long-term opportunities like the metaverse, but the reality is that as we work to monetize WhatsApp and Messenger, business messaging could be the next major pillar of our business,” he said.

Meta enables some consumers to converse and conduct transactions with merchants through the chat app, including a new feature announced Thursday in Brazil.read more

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on an internal forum on Thursday.

Zuckerberg’s comments there reflect a shift in tone and focus since announcing last year’s long-term ambition to build an immersive metaverse that has focused on investing in extended reality hardware and software.

Investors have questioned the wisdom of the decision, as Meta’s core advertising business has struggled and its shares have more than halved this year.

In a speech to employees, Zuckerberg downplayed the company’s spending on Reality Labs, the division responsible for its metaverse investments.

Manpower is Meta’s biggest expense, followed by capital expenditure, the vast majority of which is spent on infrastructure to support its suite of social media applications, he said. About 20% of Meta’s budget goes to Reality Labs.

Inside Reality Labs, where the division spends more than half its budget on augmented reality (AR), Zuckerberg said smartglasses products will continue to appear “over the next few years,” with some “really great” AR glasses coming in a decade. appears after.

“In some ways, it’s the most challenging job … but I also think it’s potentially the most rewarding part of the job over time,” he said.

About 40 percent of Reality Labs’ budget goes to virtual reality, while about 10 percent goes to future social platforms like the virtual world it’s calling Horizon.

Andrew Bosworth, chief technology officer who runs Reality Labs, said AR glasses need to be more useful than phones to attract potential customers and meet a higher bar of appeal.

Bosworth said he was wary of developing “industrial applications” for the devices, describing them as a “niche market” and wanted to stay focused on building products for a broad audience.

Reporting by Katie Paul and Paresh Dave; Editing by Peter Henderson and Kenneth Maxwell

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

paresh dev

Thomson Reuters

Technology reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area covering Google and other parts of Alphabet Inc. Joined Reuters in 2017 after four years at the Los Angeles Times focusing on the local tech industry.

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