In their latest quarterly earnings call, Meta, the parent company of tech giants Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram, announced a staggering revenue of $34.1 billion for the third quarter of 2023. Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s Founder and CEO, expressed pride in the company’s accomplishments, citing advancements in AI and mixed reality, including the launch of Quest 3, Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses, and the establishment of their AI studio.
Susan Li, Meta’s CFO, shed light on how Threads, their emerging platform, sets itself apart from Twitter. Li emphasized two key value propositions. Firstly, the platform champions openness by adopting the ActivityPub social networking protocol, enabling users to be followed by those on Threads, as well as other apps like Mastodon. This move aims to broaden the reach of creators and the community beyond the Threads ecosystem.
Li’s second point of differentiation centers on leveraging Meta’s experience from apps like Instagram to cultivate Threads as a productive and creative space for conversations and idea-sharing. She emphasized a focus on robust community guidelines and features empowering users to curate their experience.
Addressing Reality Lab, which has seen ongoing losses, Li indicated that plans for the upcoming year remain unquantified. Reality Lab plays a pivotal role in Meta’s metaverse strategy, and Li sees it as one of the three major themes in the 2024 expense planning process. The company anticipates growth in this area as it represents a compelling investment opportunity.
Meta’s strides in virtual reality are also noteworthy. With millions of Quest 2 headsets sold, the highly anticipated Quest 3 is poised to make a significant impact. Li shared that it will be the first mass-market headset with high-resolution color and mixed reality, potentially setting a new industry standard. The Quest 3 boasts double the GPU processing power, enhanced comfort, and a 40% slimmer optics profile compared to its predecessor. It will provide access to the entire Quest 2 library, along with tailored mixed reality content.
In line with industry trends, Meta is actively focused on reducing data center server costs. Li explained that the company has extended the lifespan of CPU-based servers over the past two years due to performance stagnation. Looking ahead, Meta anticipates capital expenditures for 2024 to range from $30-35 billion. This growth will be driven by investments in servers, encompassing both AI and non-AI hardware, as well as data center infrastructure in alignment with the new architecture announced last year.
Li highlighted the continuing importance of GPU advancements for AI performance, noting that these components will undergo shorter depreciation cycles. The company remains committed to evaluating the most efficient utilization of CPUs and GPUs across their fleet.
Meta’s strategic moves in both social networking and immersive technology reflect a company poised for continued innovation and growth on multiple fronts. As the digital landscape evolves, Meta’s diversified approach positions it at the forefront of emerging technologies.