After Battle With Consumers, Magic Leap Pins Its Hopes On Businesses • Alaska Green Light Blog
#Battle #Consumers #Magic #Leap #Pins #Hopes #Businesses #Alaska Green Light Blog Welcome to Alaska Green Light Blog, here is the new story we have for you today:
Something didn’t work. In late 2020, Magic Leap announced a major change led by new CEO Peggy Johnson. “[W]I didn’t think anything was really broken,” she said told the press then: “It just had to be a little bit more focus.”
From the outside, it certainly seemed like the chief executive’s typically understated speech. It doesn’t take a business genius to point out that things weren’t working. It certainly wasn’t a reflection on the technology. Those who managed to try Magic Leap’s mixed reality headsets have been impressed. I spent time with the product at CES this week and it certainly feels like the future.
But the company ran afoul of a problem that plagued countless others in this category — the consumer audience for a $2,300 mixed reality headset just wasn’t there. So it did what every extremely well-funded but struggling company does. Magic Leap turned. It suddenly found itself in business, chasing the same corporate audience that Microsoft and Epson were luring.
The Pivot was very well displayed on the show floor this week. The demos weren’t games, they were the result of developers looking for extremely serious use cases. In one, a 3D scan of the human brain is created, which shows the way for use in medical facilities. In another, a mountain appears. Wildfire is progressing in the foreground. Tiny helicopters circle overhead.
CTO Daniel Diez tells Alaska Green Light Blog that the shift in focus began in earnest in late 2019. The timing was certainly fortuitous, as the ongoing financial slowdown of the past three years has made a $1,000-plus luxury tech even more out of reach of the average consumer.
“We’ve really seen that value can be extracted from companies much earlier from AR,” explains Diez. “The feedback we got from them was that. It also gave us a glimpse of how the product needed to evolve to be truly enterprise-ready, and that’s exactly what you see in Magic Leap 2.”
While others, like Meta and HTC, are doing their best to offer all people content in terms of content, Magic Leap seems in no particular rush to get their systems into the hands of more consumers — or at least not making the kind of sacrifices for them the hardware needed to get there.
“We see an immediate opportunity within the company,” said CTO Julie Larson-Green. “I think as far as the consumer goes, you have to have another consumer content business on the side, really. So we’re not really focusing on that side right now.”
In recent weeks, the company has grabbed more headlines for its fundraising than any specific content or hardware. At the end of the year, Saudi Arabia snapped a majority stake through his public investment firm. The new cash inflow joins nearly $3.5 billion the company previously raised with help from GV, Alibaba, and Qualcomm, among others. Magic Leap’s public struggles, coupled with its massive fundraising, have raised some unanswered questions about the company’s future.
When asked if the recent funding will have a direct impact on Magic Leap’s future roadmap, Diez says, “We are very fortunate to have a very supportive investor base. They align very well with our vision of really focusing on business and making sure their devices can amplify people’s ability to do really complicated things. Our board and our financiers all agree.”