Last year, it appeared as though Microsoft and Meta were headed toward one another and would be fierce competitors for the future of employment in the metaverse.

However, both businesses today declared a partnership to cooperate on the future of employment and even gaming in virtual reality. Starting with Teams, Office, Windows, and even Xbox Cloud Gaming, Microsoft is delivering its most popular services to Meta’s Quest VR headsets.

With this unexpected alliance, Microsoft and Meta will combine their respective capabilities. Microsoft sees a chance to expand Teams and other productivity features to a decent VR headset, and Meta gains a significant ally in its ambitious metaverse strategy. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced today during Meta Communicate, “We are bringing a Microsoft Teams immersive meeting experience to Meta Quest to provide people new ways to connect with each other. “You can communicate, discuss, and work together as if you were physically present.”

Even Microsoft’s adaptation of Meta’s avatar system for Teams and Teams receiving support within Meta’s own Horizon Workrooms are part of the Teams experience offered by the new Quest Pro and Quest 2 headsets. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, announced during the event that users would be able to join a Teams conference directly from Workrooms. “We believe that the future virtual workplace will be built on this cross-device, cross-screen experience.”

Future virtual offices won’t only be meeting spaces. Quest, Microsoft’s platform for streaming complete versions of Windows to devices, will now support Windows 365. According to Nadella, “Windows 365 coming to Quest” would give users a new way to securely stream the full Windows experience, including all of their customized apps, content, and preferences, to their VR devices.

Microsoft’s Progressive Web Programs (PWA) technology is also bringing 2D versions of its Office apps to Quest. Although these won’t be fully fledged 3D versions of Office created for VR, it’s simple to picture Microsoft altering them in the future if there is interest in VR in the business world.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate customers will be able to stream games thanks to Xbox Cloud Gaming, which will also be available on Meta’s Quest VR devices. Although it won’t be as intense as an Xbox game’s native VR experience, you will be able to play them using an Xbox controller on a sizable screen projected inside a Quest headset.

This strong and uncommon collaboration between Meta and Microsoft is crucial in this situation. This is the first significant relationship since the extensive Facebook integration in Windows Phone more than ten years ago, despite the fact that the two had worked together on Teams for Meta’s Portal devices and on various SharePoint and Outlook interactions.

Microsoft appears to be hedging its own bets on the employment prospects for VR and AR headsets, or mixed reality as Microsoft prefers to refer to it. Microsoft has experimented with Windows Mixed Reality virtual reality headsets in the past, but it has never produced its own hardware, and the software was subpar in comparison to more seasoned competitors like Oculus (formerly Meta Quest), Valve, and HTC. Microsoft has made more of an investment in HoloLens, the augmented reality device it has marketed to corporations as the future of teamwork.

After claims of verbal abuse and sexual harassment surfaced earlier this year, Alex Kipman, who oversaw Microsoft teams responsible for the creation of the HoloLens headgear and the Kinect motion controller, announced his resignation. That has raised questions about the future of HoloLens, especially in light of reports that Microsoft has abandoned plans for HoloLens 3.