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Layoffs at Meta: Reality Labs undergoes restructure, now focusing on AR and Metaverse

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Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, has made a significant announcement regarding the restructuring of its hardware division, Reality Labs. This move, reported by The Verge’s Alex Heath in his Command Line newsletter, marks the most substantial reorganization since its renaming in 2020. The restructuring aligns with Meta’s evolving strategy, focusing more on augmented reality (AR) and the Metaverse.

The restructuring of Reality Labs now consists of two main groups:

Metaverse: This group includes the Quest headset line, Horizon (Meta’s social network), and related technologies.

Wearables: This new group incorporates the remaining hardware efforts of Meta, including the smart glasses collaboration with Ray-Ban.

The restructuring has also led to some layoffs, although Meta has not disclosed the exact number. Sources suggest that the cuts primarily involve redundant leadership roles due to the new organizational structure.

In an internal memo obtained by Heath, Meta CTO Andrew “Boz” Bosworth explains the rationale for the changes, emphasizing Meta’s commitment to AR and the Metaverse. Bosworth acknowledges the success of Ray-Ban Meta glasses and their positive impact on Meta’s AR roadmap.

“We have the leading AI device on the market right now, and we are focused on finding strong product market fit for wearable Meta AI, developing a business around it, and expanding the audience,” wrote Bosworth. “Our goal of overlaying digital content seamlessly onto the physical world remains unchanged, but the steps towards it have become more exciting.”

The decision to transfer the Quest headset line to the Metaverse group recognizes the distinct nature of the technology compared to Meta’s AR hardware. The memo also underscores Meta’s dedication to Horizon, despite its slow adoption thus far.

“We are fully committed to investing in Horizon as the core foundation of our social, spatial Horizon OS, and delivering high-quality experiences for both mixed reality and mobile,” Bosworth noted.

These changes signify a much-needed streamlining of Reality Labs, which had become unwieldy in its previous structure. Key leadership roles are now under Alex Himel, who leads Wearables, and Vishal Shah, overseeing both Horizon and the Quest line.

Meta’s commitment to AR remains steadfast. The company is expected to reveal more details about its upcoming AR glasses later this year, with the next generation of Ray-Ban glasses featuring a display anticipated for release next year.

“The organizational structure does not solely determine our success or failure; our execution does,” Bosworth emphasized in his memo. “But by setting it up this way, I hope we reduce overhead and allow teams to collaborate more effectively with a unified understanding of our customers and how best to serve them.”

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