Wall Street is growing impatient with Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, for placing such large and risky bets on his metaverse project, which contributed to an increase in the company's overall costs of 5% in the third quarter. After trading hours, investors rushed to sell Meta Platforms Inc.'s stock, driving it down 20% and erasing $67 billion off the company's market worth after it reported its fourth consecutive quarter of declining quarterly earnings.
The Facebook-parent company warned that its overall costs might increase by as much as 16% in the upcoming year and predicted that Reality Labs' operating losses, which are what created the metaverse, "will climb dramatically." The company's investments, according to one Meta stakeholder, are "super-sized and terrifying." On Wednesday, analysts described them as "confusing and bewildering" and referred to Meta's inability to reduce expenses as "very troubling".
"I think kind of summing up how investors are feeling right now is that there are just too many experimental bets versus proven investments on the core," Jefferies analyst Brent Thill said during an earnings conference call with executives. Everyone would probably be interested to know why you believe this pays off. Losses at Reality Labs increased dramatically in the July-September quarter, rising from $2.63 billion to a staggering $3.67 billion. Income virtually fell in half.
On the call, Zuckerberg stated, "It would be a mistake for us to not focus on any of these areas that will be vitally crucial to our future. I'm aware that when we ship a product, some people may comment, "Hey, you're spending all this money, and you've produced this thing," but I don't think that's the best way to look at it. Over the next five to ten years, "we're performing leading work that will eventually mature products at different cadences in different periods of time."
He discussed the company's numerous initiatives, including the recently released, $1,500 Quest Pro virtual and mixed reality headgear and the social metaverse platform, where users may express themselves through avatars. He claimed that Meta is also making investments in neural interfaces and augmented reality.
According to Paolo Pescatore, an analyst at PP Foresight, "the metaverse... feels like a one large gamble given the economic crisis," and the trip ahead would be "long and difficult." People aren't racing to buy VR headsets or even watch 360-degree videos, according to research. The new gadget still has the sensation of a pricey toy, he claimed.
While other big firms like Microsoft and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, are shedding staff or limiting hiring, Meta's headcount increased 32% from the end of the second quarter to the third. Altimeter Capital Management, a shareholder in Meta, urged Zuckerberg in an open letter on Monday to streamline Meta by eliminating positions and capital expenditures. Instead of the existing $10 billion, the fund recommended that Meta cap annual investments in the metaverse at $5 billion.