In an unexpected partnership, Meta and Microsoft have announced to combine their strengths. Microsoft has visualised an opportunity to bring Teams and its other productivity experiences to a capable Virtual Reality headset and Meta gets to be a key partner in its grand metaverse plan of Microsoft.
Microsoft is bringing a couple of its time-tested products to Meta’s Oculus’ Quest VR headsets under a new partnership the two companies announced at Meta Connect 2022.
What is the catch here?
Tech geeks and watchers were taken aback, both surprisingly and shockingly, by the Microsoft-Meta partnership considering the former was eyeing for the highly-anticipated and under-developed Metaverse domain by announcing plans to acquire Activision Blizzard, its biggest deal ever.
What will the Meta-Microsoft partnership entail?
- Microsoft Teams is integrating with Meta’s Oculus Quest devices for immersive virtual meetings. The integration will circumscribe Quest hardware support to Mesh for Teams for virtual avatar-based virtual meeting experiences and the ability to join Teams meetings directly from Horizon Workrooms
- Windows 365’s incorporation with Quest which is Microsoft’s browser-based Cloud PC subscription service for Windows 365 is now extended to VR. Personalized apps, content, and settings in Windows 365 is reported to be available on Quest soon
- Microsoft 365’s unification with Quest devices include interactive content access in Microsoft 365 productivity apps such as Excel, Word, Outlook, and several others within the Quest VR environment
- Microsoft Intune and Azure Active Directory integration with Quest devices (Quest Pro and Quest 2) for device management and security under Quest for Business subscription is going to be an icing on the cake
In the near future, the two companies, as reported, might bring Xbox Cloud Gaming to Meta Quest Store to enable streaming of Xbox games on phones, tablets, PCs, selected smart televisions, and the Meta Quest platform.
What else is Microsoft doing?
- Microsoft is also bringing 2D versions of its Office apps to Quest through its Progressive Web Apps (PWA) technology
- These won’t be full-blown 3D versions of Office designed for VR, but if there’s an increasing appetite for VR in the enterprise
- Xbox Cloud Gaming will even make its way to Meta’s Quest VR headsets, allowing Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers to stream games
- It’s not going to be as immersive as a native VR experience for Xbox games, but one will be able to pick up an Xbox controller and play them on a giant screen projected inside a Quest headset
Meta’s Bid - A Power Move
Meta now has an important and powerful ally in its race to make the metaverse a reality - Microsoft.
There are clear signs it’s going to be a challenging environment to get everything right but, Meta has tried for years to make inroads with enterprise customers through its Workplace platform, but by partnering with a giant like Microsoft Teams in VR, it’s a clear case of triumph when it comes to the future of app collaboration and workplace productivity.
Microsoft’s Mesh work for Teams was impressive in virtual meetings in 2021. It will be interesting to see how the company brings that to life in Meta’s Quest headsets.
However, it’s still early for this partnership to grow and flourish with yet more details to come out on exactly when these high-tech experiences will land in the coming months.
Tech geeks and watchers can expect to hear more about Teams and Microsoft’s 3D Metaverse Avatars soon, with more information on security and advanced combined features.