Magic Leap, the augmented-reality hardware company whose backers include Warner Bros., AT&T and Alphabet, is making significant layoffs — and mothballing efforts to create consumer-oriented AR products.
In a blog post Wednesday, Magic Leap founder/CEO Rony Abovitz announced that the company is “making targeted changes to how we operate and manage costs,” citing the current COVID-19 crisis. As part of that Magic Leap will “lay off a number of employees,” he wrote.
The company is letting go about 1,000 employees, or roughly half the workforce, as first reported by Bloomberg. Magic Leap reps did not respond to a request for comment.
The layoffs “will occur at every level of our company, from my direct reports to our factory employees,” according to Abovitz, who founded the company in 2011. Abovitz said Magic Leap will “decrease investments in areas where the market has been slower to develop” — that is, in AR products for consumers — and the company is “currently concentrated on the enterprise side” for its wearable headsets.
In 2018, Magic Leap launched the Magic Leap One, a wearable device designed for developers — priced at $2,295 — that lets users see and interact with digital content in the real world. The Magic Leap One includes a headset (Lightwear), a processor unit (Lightpack), and a controller, all powered by Lumin OS, which the company calls the world’s first “spatial operating system.”
Magic Leap’s content partners have included Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop, HBO, CNN, Epic Games, Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB, The New York Times, Unity, and studios Wingnut AR and Funomena.
To date, the company has raised $2.6 billion in funding. Investors include the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, AT&T, Alphabet, NTT DoCoMo, Alibaba Group, Warner Bros., Legendary Entertainment, Vulcan Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and Andreessen Horowitz.
Magic Leap previously inked deals with AT&T and DoCoMo to be the exclusive wireless distributors of its products in the U.S. and Japan, respectively.