Meta, Microsoft, and other tech mega corporations racing to establish the emergent metaverse idea have formed a partnership to promote the creation of industry norms that would make the businesses’ fledgling digital worlds interoperable.

According to the group’s announcement, the Metaverse Standards Forum includes several of the largest firms in the field, from chip makers to gaming organizations, as well as recognized standards-setting organizations like the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

For the time being, Apple is conspicuously absent from the membership list, even though many predict it will become a significant participant in the metaverse race when it launches a mixed reality headset this year or next.

Members of the discussion board did not include gaming companies Roblox and Niantic, as well as emerging crypto-based metaverse networks like The Sandbox and Decentraland.

According to Bloomberg, Apple has not officially revealed its intentions for a headset, but it has given its board an early view of the product. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new metaverse discussion board.

Apple would be in direct conflict with Meta, which has placed its future in the creation of the metaverse and has spent massively on equipment to make its vision of linked virtual worlds a reality.

Meta, formerly known as Facebook until its metaverse pivot last year, has revealed plans for a mixed-reality headset codenamed “Cambria” to be launched this year.

In the past, Apple has been significantly involved in developing online standards such as HTML5. Apple collaborated with Pixar on the “USDZ” file format for three-dimensional material in the metaverse and with Adobe to guarantee the format was supported.

Neil Trevett, an executive at chipmaker Nvidia who chairs the Metaverse Standards Forum, told Reuters that any firm, including crypto players, is welcome to join the forum.

The forum aims to facilitate communication between various standards organizations and companies to bring about “real-world interoperability” in the metaverse, without addressing how Apple’s absence may influence that goal.