November 4, 2021
Welcome to Protocol | Enterprise, your comprehensive roundup of everything you need to know about cloud and enterprise software. This Thursday: Microsoft's misplaced metaverse, why consulting companies are building software, and the hacking long game.
After 18 months of proclamations and deliberations about the future of work, it's pretty clear that no one has any real idea what that future will actually look like, and that those bidding to own a piece of that future won't let that ambiguity deter them.
Microsoft has been at the center of those conversations during the pandemic era of enterprise software, and made a renewed bid this week for CIOs and office managers to consider its vision for the future of workplace collaboration. During its Ignite conference, the most valuable company in the world (at the time of writing, at least) introduced its Mesh for Teams product after previewing the Mesh concept earlier this year.
Mesh for Teams is basically a modern Second Life that borrows design inspiration from the legless avatars of Meta (née Facebook) and supports Excel. And, if you believe the company, this is the future of workplace collaboration.
Are you ready for the metaverse onboarding process at your next company, where every new employee has to spend some time making their digital representation?
The key argument for the enterprise "metaverse" is that a digital avatar is more engaging than a blank screen: that we'll find something more in the way people choose to represent themselves in digital form. And, of course, that these digital experiences will be acceptable substitutes for real-world interaction. Yet no one has any idea if any of that is actually true.
It's true that we're overdue for a significant shift in the way we use technology at work, 15 years after mobile computing and social networking reinvented the way we interact. And it's not impossible to imagine some sort of mixed-reality experience making its way into the conference room.
But Microsoft as the metaverse visionary? Microsoft has been behind the curve of almost every single important technology inflection point over the last 20 years, because, for the most part, that's what happens to tech incumbents.
If 10 years from now we really are logging into work every morning in some sort of metaverse, smiling digital avatars covering up our hangovers and loathing for our bosses, a company we've never heard of is likely to have made that happen.
— Tom Krazit
Think success is predictable? Join the Club. Watch the season premiere of Clari's Club Revenue on Nasdaq as Pilar Schenk, COO of Cisco Collaboration, unpacks the rapid growth trends driving the future of revenue.
Git pushed: GitHub CEO Nat Friedman announced he's stepping down three years after he was tapped to lead the company following its acquisition by Microsoft. Chief Product Officer Thomas Dohmke will take over at an interesting time for its relationship with both Microsoft and the broader development community, as our interview earlier this year with COO Erica Brescia discussed.
The new consultant? Firms like Booz Allen and McKinsey are somewhat notorious in the tech industry for dumping 100-pound briefing documents on the desks of clients who ask for advice about software strategies, and then hitting the links. But as Protocol's Aisha Counts reported, those same consulting companies are increasingly building software on behalf of their clients.
Supply, crunched: Chip executives have been pretty pessimistic about the duration of the ongoing chip shortage, yet Qualcomm's Cristiano Amon bucked the trend Wednesday during his company's earnings call. Qualcomm expects to have increased supply toward the end of this year, Protocol's Max Cherney reported, thanks to shrewd capacity deals with multiple suppliers.
Club Revenue breaks down the tactics of the sharpest minds shaping the digital transformation of sales.
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Thanks for reading — see you Monday!