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Facebook XR, Quest, and the battle against Apple + Google

The topic of Facebook's direction with Quest, PCVR, Stand-Alone, Oculus branding, and VR in general is a fairly hot focal point for discussion. One thing I was hoping to address in this thread is the main driving force behind Facebook's strategic moves over the last 2 years.

As reported last year, Facebook identified Google and Apple as their biggest Industry opponents. This became particularly true when Apple actually blocked the Facebook App from their Apple Store. Considering the billions of users on the Apple platform, it should be easy to see how harmful this type of action can be towards Facebook. And if you are the owner of Facebook, it's a hard reality to face when a company can just click a 'block button' and instantly prevent billions of users from accessing your platform.

As a company whose users access apps and services in a large part through mobile phones running iOS or Android, the reason for Zuckerberg’s desire to get out from under the thumb of Apple and Google was recently tested put in the spotlight when Apple blocked Facebook from running its internal iOS apps when it was revealed that Facebook was using Apple’s platform in ways the company forbids.

Here's a full article, including a leaked email from Facebook about their XR initiative and goals to get a strategic advantage over Google and Apple:

Facebook XR was revealed by Zuckerberg last year, and it's a direct response to the thread Google and Apple pose against Facebook. Even the move to acquire Unity was a strategy to help further this very initiative:

Further into the email, Zuckerberg says that he was “supportive of acquiring Unity,” one of the leading game engines for both non-VR and VR gaming content. He goes on to “outline the advantages of owning unity,” which includes giving Facebook the capability to “build world-class VR / AR experiences required to deliver on this overall mission,” and allow the company to “make our key services the defaults [in Unity] that developers use. […] Just like developers who deeply rely on Google’s Play Services are more likely to use the next Play Service API that comes out, developers who use more of our systems to build their VR / AR experiences will also be likely to use additional services as we build them as well.”

Overall, while the common theme around Facebook's reasoning to push stand-alone so strongly is centered around the widely known initiative of, "getting 1-billion users in VR," I think that the rivalry between Facebook vs Apple/Google plays a much bigger role in all of this. So while competing against other PCVR organization's like Pimax, HP, and Valve might appear beneficial, these companies are not a direct threat to Facebook's underlying business and overall success. While Google and Apple most certainly seem to pose a serious threat. Quest and mobile technology seems to be one of many counters to overcome that threat.