There was plenty of snark when the Meta rebrand was announced and there has been even more since the Q4 earnings bloodbath. It will seem genius in five years. That it was announced following a (non) scandal makes it all the more impressive.
The comparisons to Altria and Alphabet are way off
- Meta got the .com
- Meta got the $META ticker
- Meta is meaningful
Alphabet is vaguely meaningful: the company has many products/services (one for each letter) and a propensity to make alpha bets (good investments). Most customers likely won’t see that connection. Altria is reportedly derived from the Latin word for high. That may be relevant for their growing cannabis business but again, most customers won’t know/care.
Meta, on the other hand, is the best possible abbreviation of the hype train that is the metaverse. Coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 masterpiece Snowcrash, Wikipedia describes the metaverse as “a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection.” That seems like a pretty good fit for the owner of the world’s most popular social networks and most popular VR platform.
What’s more, it didn’t make sense to continue associating the entire company with its most stagnant product. Instagram, WhatsApp and Quest (Oculus) are arguably more important to the future of the company and are less associated with fake news, election interference, racist relatives, etc.
Talking heads will continue to do what talking heads do. Zuck will continue to do what he has done since 2004; execute like Henry VIII.