Meta Teams Up with Microsoft to Bring Office 365 Apps into the Metaverse

Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and SharePoint will be available within Meta’s virtual reality.
Image source: Microsoft

Quick take:

  • The partnership was announced during Meta’s Connect 2022 keynote on Oct 11.
  • Microsoft’s Teams video calling app will integrate with Meta’s Quest and Quest Pro VR headset.
  • Meta unveiled the brand-new Quest Pro headset on Tuesday.

Meta has teamed up with Microsoft to bring Office 365 apps to the metaverse in a bid to advance the usability of its virtual reality platform.

The partnership was revealed during Meta’s Connect 2022 keynote on Oct 11 when Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that its Mesh for Microsoft Teams mixed reality overlay will integrate with Meta’s Quest and Quest Pro VR headset. In addition, Microsoft 365 apps will also be available on Meta Quest devices.

On Tuesday, Meta unveiled the brand-new Quest Pro headset priced at $1,500. It includes updated specs such as an advanced mobile Snapdragon XR2+ platform, developed with Qualcomm to produce more advanced graphics compared to the Quest headset. It also has improved touch controllers with embedded sensors for better hand tracking, and new lenses for improved visual experiences.

The Quest Pro headset also contains “real-time expression tracking” in which the user’s avatars mimic the facial expressions of the real-life user, as well as mixed-reality features that blend the physical and virtual world, which Zuckerberg said was an important feature in the metaverse, which he bet $70 billion on.

Besides Teams and Office 365 apps, Quest device users will also be able to access Microsoft’s Xbox cloud gaming service, allowing users to play 2D games projected on a screen on Quest.

Nadella added that Microsoft would include the ability to stream a Windows Cloud computer to Meta’s Quest VR headsets in the future. Companies can also manage and secure VR headsets in their corporate networks using Microsoft’s enterprise-level mobile device and identity management applications, which will be compatible with Meta’s Quest and Quest Pro headsets.

“We’re bringing the Microsoft Teams’ immersive meeting experience to Meta Quest in order to give people new ways to connect with each other. Now, you can connect, share and collaborate as though you are together in person,” Nadella said.

“As in-person work ramps up, we want everyone to have the ability to feel like they’re present,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg added.

Meta’s integration with Microsoft Teams will also allow users to join “immersive” meetings in Horizon Workrooms. Zuckerberg also teased a new feature called “magic rooms,” designed for hybrid teams where some are working remotely while others are present in the office. Magic rooms allow teams to work in mixed reality rather than solely in VR. 

This partnership also complements Microsoft’s commitment to HoloLens, the company’s own mixed-reality headset. Besides integration with Microsoft’s products, Meta’s Horizon Workrooms will also integrate with Zoom in early 2023.

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