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After cutting its workforce, Meta is now cutting services and products

After cutting its workforce, Meta is now cutting services and products

Russell Kidson

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2018 saw Meta announcing Portal devices, a new range of electronic products that gave users instant access to video calling services, a smart camera, Amazon Alexa, and many more integrated features. However, while Portal is clever on paper, it’s not generating any. This explained Meta’s June 2022 announcement that it was scaling Portal devices back to purely enterprise hardware. Now, however, Portal is being killed off completely. Will we see services and products cut for apps like Facebook next?

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The news that the assistant-like devices were being killed off first broke on Reuters, shortly after Meta announced that it had initiated the biggest layoff in its history. This layoff affected 11 000 employees who, together, made up around 13% of Meta’s total workforce, but this doesn’t seem to have saved the company enough money. In the same breath that it reported on the demise of Portal, Reuters also mentioned Meta winding down its smartwatch project – excuse the pun. 

Mass layoffs, product purges, and scaling back new initiatives, to the untrained eye, makes it look like Meta itself is dying. In fact, it seems plausible that Meta is doing everything it can to stay afloat. Previously, we’ve reported on the issues facing the company, from Facebook losing popularity with younger generations and the older pro-Facebook generations dying out, to the some-would-say inevitable failure of the Metaverse. However, in other areas, the company seems to be exhibiting growth. 

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Perhaps Meta has simply shifted focus, as Mark Zuckerberg has said, to ‘high priority growth areas.’ For support of this statement, look no further than the resources that Meta is plowing into the Metaverse, a project that Zuck and Meta are convinced is the means of communication, work, socialization, relaxation, and learning of the future. Another argument for this refocus is Meta’s dedication to its AI discovery business. Zuck has also mentioned that Meta will retain focus on its ad platform. No surprise there. 

There is enough proof of either of these scenarios coming to pass. Either Meta will fold and be relegated to the hall of Memorium of tech innovations past, or it will continue cutting costs where it matters and continue shaping the world in its own – or Mark Zuckerberg’s image. We’ll see how all of this will affect fellow apps like WhatsApp and Instagram.

I suppose it all depends on whether all these resources going to the Metaverse are worth it, or whether Meta is overextending itself with the entire Metaverse concept. I, for one, don’t believe people are ready to move into virtual and augmented reality to that extent.

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