2Q EARNINGS: Facebook, Oculus VR, and the Next Generation of Computing Platforms

By David Cohen 

OculusRift650Facebook’s acquisition of immersive virtual reality technology company Oculus VR officially closed earlier this week, and Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg took some time during the social network’s second-quarter earnings call Wednesday to discuss how the combination of the two companies could impact the future of computing.

Responding to a question from Colin Sebastian Analyst Robert Baird, Zuckerberg said:

I can talk about Oculus. So we’re really excited about this the acquisition that just closed earlier this week and we’re really excited to welcome that team. They’re extremely talented, and they’ve pulled off something that people have been talking about for a really long time, and now it’s possible, given the technology that this team has developed. And this hits on a different part of our strategy, which — the way that I organize my remarks every quarter are around these 10-year goals and themes that we have for the company, connecting everyone, understanding the world, helping to build the knowledge economy and these future platforms. So when I’m talking about how I think things like the businesses that we’re talking about are further out than you think, I think that this stuff is actually even further out than that.

But there are huge opportunities to build the next generation of computing platforms. When mobile was getting defined, we were basically just getting founded, in 2004. The first smartphone came out in 2003. And we have mostly been a company that has played on top of the different mobile foundations that other companies have built. And one of the things that I care really deeply about on some of the tenures arc for the company is having a different relationship to whatever the next set of computing platforms are and investing accordingly now to make sure that when the next set of computing platforms get defined, we can help define what the next generation of computing is going to be.

So I think virtual reality, augmented reality, vision, some of the AI (artificial intelligence) work that we’re doing, is all going to play into this in an important way. And I just think while I was emphasizing that we’re early on some of those businesses and we’re not going to rush those. The flip side to the coin is to emphasize that we’re also going to spend a lot and invest very heavily in a bunch of these things to do it right over the long term. And so I think (Chief Financial Officer David Wehner) pointed out that we expect to continue investing heavily and that our costs will increase. And I just want to underscore that, as well, because I expect that continue to be true, and it’s not that we’re necessarily going to go out and have a lot more new strategic priorities, but we expect to go very deep on the priorities that we have to make sure that we completely nail them all, whether it’s a five-year or a 10-year time frame.

Readers: How can Facebook and Oculus VR shape the next generation of computing platforms?