Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hires Apple veteran, Michael Hillman, as head of Oculus' virtual reality hardware. The social media giant wants to own the future of virtual reality, and that means making a lot of people buy VR headsets. The hardware is still incredibly tough to master, even for a company with nearly 2 billion monthly active users, and that's where Hillman comes in.
The 15-year Apple veteran's primary job is to make the hardware work easier, and more convenient to use. An Oculus spokesperson said that Hillman will work closely alongside Oculus COO Hans Hartmann in his role who joined the virtual reality unit in May 2016 after serving as COO at fitness gadget maker Fitbit. “We’re excited to have him leading the hardware organization,” the Oculus spokesperson added.
To achieve the direction that Facebook wants for its Oculus virtual reality line, it relies on Hillman's stellar achievement. He has helped develop and manage several of Apple's big hardware projects like its iMac personal computers. Eventually, he became the chief architect for all of Apple’s desktop computers, the Fortune reported.
Hillman is the company’s latest big hire as it competes with other technology giants like Sony and Taiwan's HTC in emerging virtual reality market. The Oculus Rift headset is the company’s current flagship virtual reality device. Released one year ago with more than a healthy amount of delays caused by manufacturing issues, it caused quite a bit of anger among early buyers who were already upset by the headset’s $599 price tag, per TechCrunch.
Several analyst firms estimated that Facebook's Oculus Rift has shipped far fewer headsets than what it originally projected. Its high price coupled with the need for powerful computers is one reason analysts believe why the technology is not yet popular to many customers. However, Oculus' spokesperson says that the company is going to continue investing in the hardware, and push the boundaries of VR technology to build next generation consumer VR products.