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Microsoft Pivots Away From Industrial Metaverse, Focuses On Generative AI

The Windows company has also laid off the entire team behind Project Airsim

Windows company Microsoft has discontinued work on its industrial metaverse product named Project Airsim and has laid off the team working on it. 

The Project Airsim team received a calendar invite labelled as a, ‘Team update’ and were informed during the meeting that all of them would be let go, and the project would be terminated, as reported by Business Insider. Microsoft has officially confirmed that it will shut down the project on December 15th. 

Project Airsim

“We are proud of the impact this incubation created for our customers and we will continue to invest in both Azure as the computing platform that powers the industrial metaverse, and a wide range of AI projects within the company,” Microsoft said in a statement. “We are working closely with our customers on this transition.”

Microsoft’s industrial applications 

The news regarding Airsim followed after Microsoft halted support for Project Bonsai on October 19th, as the company had previously indicated. Bonsai was a platform for developing AI-driven autonomous systems for industrial purposes. Both projects were classified under the company’s ‘industrial metaverse’ initiative.

Initially, Microsoft viewed these projects as a way to attract industrial application developers and enhance the competitiveness of its Azure cloud against Amazon Web Services. However, Business Insider reports that Microsoft became less interested as its collaboration with OpenAI became more prominent.

According to The Information, Microsoft began promoting its vision for the industrial metaverse in early 2023 after announcing its extended partnership with OpenAI. However, this endeavour didn’t last long. By spring, Microsoft discontinued the project and laid off the 100-person team just 10 months after putting it together. 

This serves as another example of Microsoft’s reallocation of resources to emphasise its OpenAI strategy. Insider reported last month that the company also abandoned experimental products like its Surface headphones to concentrate on AI investments.

Written By

Isa Muhammad is a writer and video game journalist covering many aspects of entertainment media including the film industry. He's steadily writing his way to the sharp end of journalism and enjoys staying informed. If he's not reading, playing video games or catching up on his favourite TV series, then he's probably writing about them.

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