The last time we heard Meta, the manufacturers of the Meta 2 augmented reality headset, the situation was rather bleak. Now that several new facts have been uncovered, we have a confirmation regarding the fate of this besieged company: Meta is over.
As we announced in September, the company was forced to fire the majority of its staff after failing to get a new round of $ 20 million from investors. On Wednesday, a case filed in a Delaware court inadvertently revealed that Meta was insolvent and that it was, for all practical purposes, over.
How did we come here?
The previously reported holidays were a blow to the company, but rather than resulting in the departure of mid-level employees and support team members, Next Reality has learned that One of these departures had occurred at the management level.
Image by Adario Strange / Next Reality
Mikhail represented the company at last year's AWE conference in California, the event bringing together insiders from the AR business world. During his stay, he presented in an exciting and passionate way the hardware, the software and the future of the company. Mikhail was so impressive in his efforts that he was ranked on the NR30 NR30 Leaders List in 2018. Prior to being named Revenue Director, Mikhail, a Silicon Valley veteran who previously worked for Lenovo, was member of the board of directors of the company. administrators.
Joe Mikhail, former Revenue Officer Image by Adario Strange / Next Reality
Before Mikhail, Meta's main face was Ryan Pamplin, an equally energetic and aggressive advocate of Meta's mission to integrate traditional AR treatment. In May 2018, when Next Reality inquired about Pamplin's status as a result of Mikhail's promotion, the company said Pamplin was on "leave of absence". Its status has never been officially updated to the public. Today, Pamplin – whose Twitter profile still shows him in a pinned tweet posing with a Meta 2 headset, alongside Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak – can be found in promoting his new startup, BlendJet. portable mixer.
The former vice president of Meta, Ryan Pamplin, holding the Meta 2 with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Picture of Ryan Pamplin /Twitter
The silent demise of Meta management prior to the lay-off ceremony was normal, while other members of the high-level team left the company the same way during the 12 last months with few comments or public explanations. In fact, on the current version of the company's website, which once featured a range of Meta team members, only the face of the company's founder and CEO, Meron Gribetz, appears.
Meta 2 is no longer for sale
In addition to erasing frames from the company's website, another major component has also disappeared: the Meta 2 headset itself. Previously, the website displayed an option to purchase the device. Today, this option no longer appears in the site menu. Similarly, the link to the "buy.metavision.com" section of the site no longer works.
Meta 2 stock in Meta's offices in Silicon Valley. Image by Adario Strange / Next Reality
This time last year, Dell announced that it would start selling the Meta 2 as the device's first major reseller. But we could not find the Meta 2 anywhere on the Dell website, and when you search for "augmented reality" on the site, the only AR product displayed is the DAQRI Smart Glasses. Dell did not immediately respond to this absence when it was contacted by Next Reality.
Image by Meta / Facebook
The disappearance of the device seems even worse, as Meta began offering significant discounts on the Meta 2 last August, for a selling price of $ 949, a reduction of more than $ 500 compared to its usual price of $ 1,495.
Patent lawsuit ends in closing
Any company facing Meta's funding problems, executive departures and the loss of product status would have a major problem to address. But another ride in the history of Meta has finally been resolved today.
As the next reality In August, Genedics, LLC reported to Meta that it had been the victim of a patent infringement lawsuit, alleging that Meta had infringed patents covering "user interface methods for image manipulation and copying." user input in a three-dimensional space where the projectors display the images and the sensors identify the user inputs. "
Image by Adario Strange / Next Reality
Initially, Meta attempted to have the case returned to California, but the judge dismissed the motion. Then, in November, Meta's legal position was considerably weakened when she asked the court to allow her to dismiss her large legal team. Judge Christopher J. Burke, US District Attorney for the Delaware District in the United States, granted the request and ordered Meta to find a new board. It was months ago and since then little progress has been made until today.
In a new case filed in court, Genedics' lawyers asked the court to update him on their situation, while providing a letter from Meta putting an end to the story.
"We inquired with Meta about the need to respond to the court's request for a status update," wrote Genedics' lawyer David W. deBruin, "and the company responded that afternoon through the intermediary of its financial director, John Sines, as follows … "
Dear Judge Burke,
I am responding to your court order that Meta Company retain the services of a counsel or reach a settlement with Genedics LLC.
I have the regret to inform you that the negotiations for a settlement have not succeeded. In addition, the lender of Meta Company exercised its remedies as a priority secured lender and seized and sold all assets to a third party at a UCC foreclosure sale of a value less than the amount of the loan in progress, and Meta Company is insolvent. Meta does not have the resources to seek legal advice or to provide a settlement offer.
And with that, the story of Meta is officially over. Even if they could have settled with Genedics, it is too late because Meta 's assets are being sold and the company is running out of money. Many details behind his fall are still unclear, but it seems that, without additional funding, Meta has not had the firepower needed to continue to defend itself from Genedics' patent lawsuit.
But it's still not finished. Genedics wants to look at Meta's strengths. "Meta has not provided and Genedics does not have any additional information, let alone underlying documentation regarding the alleged foreclosure sale and does not know how Meta and / or the alleged buyer of the assets of Meta will carry on business, if any, with Genedics "Waiting for Infringement Claims," writes deBruin of Genedics. "By due diligence, Genedics is looking for the possibility of making discoveries to evaluate these problems."
We still do not know what will happen to the unsold stocks of Meta 2, its remaining staff or its intellectual property. However, the story of Meta has taught us that it may be too early for the market.
Founded in late 2012, Meta has secured funding of approximately $ 73 million over the years. However, a look at some of the more sophisticated, cheaper and more powerful AR devices that were launched at CES 2019 indicates that Meta's great idea was ready for the future, but they were marketed too early to support their vision.
UPDATE: A judge in Meta Patent Lawsuit sets a deadline for the default judgment (click to learn more …)
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Cover image by Meta