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Saudi Arabia increases its investment in Magic Leap. About 450 million US dollars sink.
Saudi Arabia is investing $450 million in Magic Leap through its sovereign wealth fund PIF, according to The Telegraph. As early as March 2018, Saudi Arabia invested US$400 million in Magic Leap through the sovereign wealth fund.
After the recent investment, Saudi Arabia would hold more than 50% of Magic Leap shares. This is intended to give the state control of the once highly publicized AR company. Saudi Arabia should be able to appoint four of the eight board members. Magic Leap has yet to comment on the investment.
The sovereign wealth fund’s investment in Magic Leap could be part of a broader metaverse strategy that the city of Dubai unveiled over the summer.
Magic Leap: From Smartphone Revolutionaries to B2B Niche Products
Magic Leap has a checkered history: Founder and tech visionary Rony Abovitz once wanted to make the company the Apple for AR glasses and replace the smartphone. It has attracted investors like Google and Alibaba, which have poured billions into the business.
However, technical progress did not come fast enough and Magic Leap ran into financial difficulties at the latest during the corona pandemic. Abovitz left the company with about half the workforce, and former Microsoft executive Peggy Johnson took the helm.
It reinforced the B2B focus that had begun and launched the Magic Leap 2, which already existed as a prototype, for US$3,300 in September 2022. Like Microsoft’s HoloLens, the device is aimed at businesses and consumers. professional users.
Magic Leap 2 was rated well by testers and, like HoloLens, it is said to be superior to the previous model in many areas. Johnson does not rule out a return to the B2C market, a timeline for this is not known.
Magic Leap founder continues to believe in his AR vision
After leaving Magic Leap, Abovitz repeatedly pointed out that only the third iteration of the AR glasses was intended for the mass market. He still considers the phase he dubbed “Apollo” to be achievable. He envisions open AR glasses with an optimized design for the intended use (sports, entertainment, navigation, etc.).
Other manufacturers like Meta, possibly Apple and Alphabet are also pursuing this goal, which is not yet technically feasible. They’re currently making the detour via VR glasses with built-in AR video streaming and likely will for the foreseeable future. An example of such a device is the Quest Pro recently released by Meta. HTC also wants to launch new XR glasses in 2023.