The tech giant Microsoft has shut down its industrial metaverse project Project Airsim, Business Insider reported. Airsim is a drone simulation software powered by AI, which was launched as part of Microsoft’s vision for an “industrial metaverse.”
The shutdown was communicated to the team via a team meeting for an update stating that “the whole team will be laid off and the project will be discontinued.” Following this, Microsoft will discontinue the project on Dec. 15.
However, the firm said it won’t back down on investing in both Azure and other AI projects launched with the company, adding that close collaboration will be maintained with customers for an effective transition.
This move makes it two in recent times the tech giant is parting with AI projects it supports which are considered part of its “industrial metaverse.” Earlier, Microsoft discontinued its support for Project Bonsai, an AI development platform built for the industrial landscape and provides an environment for developing autonomous systems.
Microsoft acquired Bonsai in 2018 and originally launched Airsim in 2017 all under Kevin Scott Microsoft Chief Technology Officer.
Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, once expressed great enthusiasm for Bonsai and envisioned it playing a pivotal role in Microsoft’s AI future, Business Insider disclosed. However, Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI intensified.
Specifically, Microsoft made clear its vision for the industrial metaverse but seems to have abandoned the effort. The firm has laid off the 100-person team behind the initiative, also Gurdeep Pall, who oversaw both Project Bonsai and Project Airsim, quit from Microsoft after 33 years with the company, an insider reported.
This shutdown and layoff reflect Microsoft’s strategic shift towards focusing on OpenAI and strengthening its partnership.
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