April 22, 2020 – Magic Leap has today announced in a blog post that it will be laying off a number of its employees. This comes at a time as businesses around the world are struggling to adapt to change as a result of the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic. Magic Leap states that it too has had to examine the way that the company operates, and recent changes to the economic environment have decreased availability of capital, as well as the appetite for longer term investments. As a result, Magic Leap’s near-term revenue opportunities are now being concentrated on the enterprise side of the business.
Commenting in a company blog post, Magic Leap President & CEO, Rony Abovitz, wrote: “This has been a painful process, as every member of our Magic Leap team has demonstrated not only unparalleled talent but a true passion for our company’s mission. But after lengthy, careful consideration, I have determined this is ultimately necessary to give us the best chance for future success. These changes will occur at every level of our company, from my direct reports to our factory employees.”
Abovitz continued, “Adapting our company to these new market realities and our increased focus on enterprise means we must align our efforts to focus on the areas of our business that advance our technology, ensure delivery of Magic Leap 2, and expand product-market fit and revenue generation. This transformation also means that we must decrease investments in areas where the market has been slower to develop, providing us with a longer runway while retaining the ability to explore and build on future use cases when the market signals readiness.”
The company’s CEO anticipates that a post-COVID-19 economy will be one where businesses seek the ability to operate across distances and connect with their customers in ways that mimic physical interactions, but benefit from the speed and scale of high-speed networks. As a result, spatial computing could very much play an important part in shaping this economic change. However, Magic Leap seems confident that its pioneering work in the field will provide it with a rich platform of technology and know-how to help usher in this era of “Spatial Transformation”.
Abovitz closed by saying: “I want to thank each member of our team for taking the leap of faith to be part of bringing Spatial Computing to the world. We are at the beginning of a long journey, and I expect that great things will come from the team that continues on with Magic Leap, and I also expect great and wonderful things from those who are leaving us now. Their warmth, brilliance, creativity, and experience will be deeply missed.”
Today’s announcement means that unfortunately, some Magic Leap employees are now some of the early casualties (that have been publicly announced) within the XR industry as a result of the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. With no certainty behind when things may return to normal, and with economists forecasting lasting damage to the global economy, sadly, it seems likely that they will not be the last.
Image credit: Magic Leap