Meta partners with Microsoft to bring Teams, Windows apps and games to Quest devices • TechCrunch
Meta today announced a partnership with Microsoft to bring new content, including Windows apps and Teams links, to Metaverse’s hardware efforts. At Meta’s Connect conference this morning, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said Microsoft Teams will integrate with Quest devices and that Microsoft will provide a way to stream Windows apps to Meta’s headsets. Nadella also revealed that Microsoft’s streaming game service, Xbox Cloud Gaming, will be coming to Quest devices in the coming months.
“We’re bringing the immersive meeting experience of Microsoft Teams to Meta Quest to give people new ways to connect with each other,” Nadella said, noting that custom avatars will eventually come to the experience. Horizon Workrooms, Meta’s VR collaboration space, will connect to Teams, he added, allowing people to join a Teams meeting directly from Workrooms.
“Now you can connect, share and collaborate as if you were together in person,” Nadella added.
On the Windows side, Nadella said Microsoft 365 will come to Quest in a way that lets users interact with content from productivity apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. Tom Warren of The Verge Remarks that they are not full versions of applications designed for virtual reality, which is important; They are Progressive Web Appsinstead.
“You [will] have a new way to securely stream the entire Windows experience, including all custom app content settings, to your VR device with full power [of Windows,]”, said Nadella. “We thought about how to bring the power of Microsoft 365 and Windows 365 to 3D spaces to really help boost productivity and allow you to create, communicate and collaborate in completely new ways. .
As for Xbox Cloud Gaming, on the Quest it will stream games to a 2D VR display, supporting existing Xbox controllers. But Nadella hinted that additional features may come later.
Microsoft’s team with Meta comes as the former recalls its internal VR and AR hardware projects, including HoloLens. The Windows Mixed Reality platform, Microsoft’s software foundation built into Windows 10 to support VR headsets, never quite took off as the company hoped. Earlier this year, Business Insider reported that Microsoft ditched plans for the third generation of HoloLens in favor of partnering with Samsung on a new “mixed reality” device.
Microsoft pushed back against the HoloLens claims. But then one of the HoloLens development leaders, Alex Kipman, resigned after allegations of misconduct, including inappropriate sexual behavior, leaving the division in flux.
That being said, Microsoft has shown a strong interest in investing in building software for the Metaverse, whatever form it takes. At its Ignite conference last year, the company announced Mesh for Teams, which combines the Mesh platform to power shared experiences in virtual reality, augmented reality and elsewhere with Teams and its built-in productivity tools.