In a move that has sent ripples through the tech industry, Meta, the pioneering company behind the ambitious metaverse concept, is gearing up for a significant workforce restructuring within its Reality Labs division. The focus of this restructuring effort is centered on the unit responsible for the development of custom silicon, signaling a pivotal shift within the company.
The announcement of impending layoffs came via an internal post on Meta’s discussion forum, Workplace, on a Tuesday. The post conveyed that employees would receive official notifications regarding their employment status by early Wednesday morning.
Notably, a spokesperson for Meta has opted to withhold any official comments on these restructuring plans, leaving employees and industry observers in anticipation. The scope and magnitude of the workforce reductions within the silicon division, known as the Facebook Agile Silicon Team (FAST), remain undisclosed, with sources indicating that FAST currently comprises approximately 600 employees.
The FAST unit holds a critical role within Meta’s operations, being entrusted with the development of customized semiconductor chips tailored to power the augmented and virtual reality hardware produced by the company’s Reality Labs division.
Meta’s foray into the mixed reality space has already yielded products like the Quest series of headsets and smart glasses, a collaborative effort with the renowned eyewear manufacturer EssilorLuxottica under the Ray-Ban brand. These innovative devices enable users to enjoy features such as video streaming and interaction with a cutting-edge artificial intelligence virtual assistant.
Recent developments within Meta have seen the company unveiling new iterations of its smart glasses and introducing the highly-anticipated Quest 3 headset during its annual Connect conference last week. Furthermore, the tech giant is actively engaged in the development of augmented reality glasses capable of projecting virtual objects onto transparent lenses, complemented by the creation of associated smartwatches, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Nevertheless, Meta has grappled with the formidable challenge of producing silicon chips that can effectively compete with those offered by external semiconductor providers. In light of this, the company has entered partnerships with established chipmaker Qualcomm for its current lineup of devices, encompassing both the Quest headsets and the Ray-Ban smart glasses.
The forthcoming workforce restructuring within the silicon-focused division reflects Meta’s commitment to addressing these challenges head-on and refining its strategy within the metaverse-driven Reality Labs division, a critical component of its long-term vision for the future.