Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report on Tuesday launched a set of tools to enable businesses to create immersive spaces with augmented and virtual reality where workers can meet using its software products like Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft is strengthening its cloud computing infrastructure and adapting its signature software products to create a more business friendly version of the so-called metaverse.
"The public perception of the metaverse — as a futuristic world where plugged-in people recreate their whole lives online — is still a ways off. But the business uses are starting to be available now,” Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella told Bloomberg Television.
The technology used in Microsoft software announced earlier this year was called Mesh. Microsoft also unveiled a product called Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces to let people move and interact within virtual retail and factory spaces.
Shares of Microsoft closed 1.14% higher at $333.13.
Microsoft plans to launch these tools to enable employees to create their digital avatars by the first half of next year.
Microsoft is focused on practical applications of the metaverse — ones where the benefits are clear, Nadella told Bloomberg.
Microsoft is second only to market leader Amazon AMZN in the cloud computing infrastructure market, which research firm Gartner estimates hit $64.3 billion a year in 2020.
Last week, Facebook (FB) - Get Meta Platforms Inc. Class A Report changed its name to Meta in a $10 billion rebranding effort. The company has been facing increasing criticism for failing to curb, and even amplifying election and vaccine misinformation to boost user engagement on its social media platforms.
As part of the rebranding, the company said it wants to build a "virtual world where you can deliver extensive products like you're right there, with another person, that's the holy grail of online social experience."
Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has called the metaverse an "embodied Internet."