FTC recordsdata to dam Fb-parent Meta from shopping for a VR app
By Clare Duffy, CNN Business
The Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday moved to block Facebook-parent Meta from acquiring virtual reality company Within, offering the clearest signal yet that the agency could take a tougher stance on Silicon Valley deals involving newer technologies.
In an injunction filed Wednesday, the FTC said Meta has the resources to build its own VR apps similar to those made by Within, the company behind virtual fitness program Supernatural. Instead, the FTC claims, Meta is trying to buy the upstart company, which would “[dampen] future innovation and competitive rivalry.”
The agency, which is responsible for enforcing US antitrust laws, accused the tech giant of illegally attempting to expand its “virtual reality empire.”
Meta has bet its future on virtual and augmented reality technologies, and the injunction comes as the company seeks to build out use cases for its VR headset, Oculus. Supernatural is a popular app on Oculus, in some cases turning users on to the idea of exercising in VR for the first time.
“Instead of competing on the merits, Meta is trying to buy its way to the top,” FTC Bureau of Competition Deputy Director John Newman said in a statement Wednesday. “This is an illegal acquisition, and we will pursue all appropriate relief.”
Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Meta is currently battling another FTC antitrust lawsuit that is seeking to break up the tech giant, centering on its years-old acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp.
The CNN Wire
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