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Magic Leap CEO Peggy Johnson is immersing her company in enterprise technology

February 17, 2021, 10:30 AM UTC

Enterprise technology has never been thought of as the sexiest category for manufacturers. You can, in part, blame Steve Jobs for that, says Alan Murray, cohost of Fortune’s Leadership Next podcast. “He said, I don’t care about the enterprise, I’m gonna make something for the consumer. The consumers will love me,” Murray says.

But for Peggy Johnson, CEO of Magic Leap, enterprise technology is now top of mind. Magic Leap was founded in 2010 to produce augmented-reality headsets for gamers. But the headsets were expensive and never really found their footing as a consumer product. After years at Qualcomm, Johnson came aboard to refocus Magic Leap on serving the enterprise market.

“Particularly with a tech like AR [augmented reality],” Johnson says, companies shouldn’t “miss the opportunity in enterprise. That will give you the ability to continue to innovate by first pointing to a market that has a real need for it, then you can take those dollars and turn them back into the business and build a consumer play. Because consumer is definitely coming. It’s not a no; it’s just not right now.”

Johnson joins Murray and cohost Ellen McGirt on this week’s episode of Leadership Next, a podcast about the changing rules of business leadership.

“I see it as very similar to what the mobile phone industry went through [early on],” says Johnson. “Those first adopters of mobile phones were enterprise customers as well. The product was big, a bit expensive, and a little heavy, but it filled a need for enterprise.”

And that’s why, for Magic Leap and AR, Johnson says, “I think the first adopters are the ones that we’re working with right now.”