Microsoft has announced plans to shut down AltspaceVR, a social virtual reality platform it acquired in 2017, on March 10th, 2023. The company cited a desire to focus on Mesh, its mixed reality platform that was announced in 2021 and is set to come to Teams, as the reason for the decision.
In a blog post, Microsoft stated, “We look forward to what is to come, including our launch of Microsoft Mesh, a new platform for connection and collaboration, starting by enabling workplaces around the world.” The company also indicated that it would focus on workplace experiences and ensuring that Mesh offers security, trust, and compliance.
The news of the shutdown comes after Microsoft confirmed that it would lay off 10,000 employees through the end of March. According to Windows Central, the AltspaceVR team will be cut as part of the reorganization. Bloomberg also reported that the headcount of the HoloLens team has been reduced.
The division has seen several changes in the past year, including the departure of former head Alex Kipman, who left amid allegations of sexual misconduct, and a pause of a purchasing agreement with the US military. In 2022, Microsoft also reportedly abandoned plans for a new HoloLens device.