Is Meta Platforms’ $70 billion bet on the metaverse shaping up to be tech’s biggest money pit?

There are perhaps few precedents—if any—for a company spending as much as the Facebook owner to develop a new, world-conquering technology platform that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg envisions as the “next chapter” of the Internet. And in Zuckerberg’s own words, it could be another eight years or more — “the end of the decade” — before Meta starts to see a profit. This raises the question of whether Meta will ever get enough returns to justify the investment.

We decided to try to compare what Meta is spending on its big new bet with what other companies have invested in new platforms. Amazingly, in the past, companies like Apple and Google have developed groundbreaking new technologies – such as mobile software for the iPhone and Android – while spending a fraction of what Meta is investing. And for both Apple and Google, these investments have been spectacular successes. Both companies continued to invest in their new technologies, but much of that investment came post-launch, when the payoff was clearer.

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