Layar AR Creators Want Their Company Back, Believing Blippar Is Ruining It
With augmented reality making its way into the mainstream, consumers have been expecting a company bloodbath for a while now, one that will have a ton of casualties. Blippar has been expected to be one of those casualties due to the reported loss of millions of dollars earlier this year. Now, their situation might be made worse as the creators of the Layar app, Raimo van der Klein and Martin Lens-Fitzgerald, are rumored to be asking for their company back.
Layar is an augmented reality app that allows you to scan print materials associated with Layar, like magazines and newspapers, to see augmented images related to the materials appear in your world. It's mainly used for advertising, but can also be used to browse the app's 'Geo Layers' which lets you find things like ATM's and restaurants closest to you. It was acquired by Blippar in 2014 and was doing fairly well since it came pre-installed into select smartphones, including the Samsung Galaxy S.
Blippar acquired it out of need. It had originally been using Qualcomm AR technology, but through Layar they were able to get their own in-house AR Tech along with the users that Layar already had. Now, the company claims that Blippar took any success they had and ran it into the ground.
According to a source at Business Insider, the founders believe that they have what Blippar lacks, which is "vision and strategy." The source also claimed that the number of users for the app has gone from about 4 million to 500,000 since Blippar bought it.
This has led to trouble for those involved with Layar and Blippar. Last year, Blippar's Amsterdam office closed, causing most employees who worked there to leave without seeking another job at the AR company. Earlier this month they also closed their San Francisco office, while Japan and Turkey offices have been closed as well.
These concerns make it unsurprising that Layar would want their company back, a company that was doing fairly well before.
While Blippar has not confirmed whether or not any of this is true, it is likely that they would have turned down the request from Layar's founders because of how many of Blippar's users Layar provides. Still, if their partners are this unhappy with Blippar, it likely means that the company might be one of the first to fall in the rising AR world.