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To prevent “harm” to honest competition, the FTC is insisting on blocking Meta from buying the Within company.
On Wednesday, July 27, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a complaint with the Court about Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: META) which is willing to acquire Within, a software company that develops apps for VR devices. According to the FTC, Meta has already reached “into every corner of the world” with its applications, and acquiring Within would help it get a kind of monopoly and reduce competition in the VR market.
The FTC stated:
“If Meta is able to proceed with this proposed acquisition of Within, the merger poses a reasonable likelihood of substantially lessening competition in the market for VR dedicated fitness apps.”
The Commission further added:
“This Acquisition poses a reasonable probability of eliminating both present and future competition. That lessening of competition may result in reduced innovation, quality, and choice, less pressure to compete for the most talented app developers, and potentially higher prices for VR fitness apps. And Meta would be one step closer to its ultimate goal of owning the entire “Metaverse”.
To prevent this “harm” to competition, the FTC is insisting on blocking Meta from buying Within company and suppressing Meta’s incentive to develop its own competitor to Supernatural, Within’s VR workout app, or to add new features to Beat Saber, its own VR app.
Notably, this is not the first time the FTC is filing against Meta. Earlier, the regulator started to dive deep into Meta’s acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram, trying to force Meta to sell its subsidiaries.
From Social Network to VR Business
Originally, Meta was known as Facebook, the company behind a popular social media network with the same name. However, since it started focusing on VR products development, it changed its concept and name. In 2021, Facebook became Meta Platforms.
However, metaverse and virtual reality caught the interest of the tech giant much earlier. Back in 2014, the company acquired Oculus VR, the leader in immersive virtual reality technology known for its VR headset, the Oculus Rift. Further, within the last three years, Meta acquired five VR game studios, including BigBox VR, the studio behind “Population: One” (known as “The Fortnite of VR.” Besides, it bought Unit 2 Games which is behind Crayta, a collaborative game creation engine for multiplayer games.
Other VR studio acquisitions by Meta included Sanzaru Games and Ready at Dawn.
To focus on the innovations in VR world, Meta created Reality Labs, a VR unit that aims to create the future of virtual and augmented reality.