US market watchdogs filed a lawsuit on Wednesday to block Facebook owner Meta from acquiring virtual reality fitness app creator Within, which might be a setback for the internet giant’s plans for the metaverse.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) claimed in a federal court complaint that Meta is attempting to illegally extend its virtual reality empire through the acquisition of Within Unlimited, the company behind the fitness app “Supernatural.”
In order to ensure its dominant position, Meta has made it a priority to develop its metaverse vision for the future of the Internet. The firm has placed a significant wager on the interactive virtual world.
The FTC complaint stated that “this transaction poses a reasonable probability of eliminating both present and future competition.” The acquisition of the entire “Metaverse” would bring Meta one step closer to its ultimate goal.
The social media behemoth claimed that the FTC’s action defied reality and that its purchase of Within would benefit both VR consumers and the app developers who cater to that industry.
According to Meta, the FTC’s case is founded on ideology and conjecture rather than fact.
“It is simply unfeasible to believe that this purchase would result in anticompetitive effects in a dynamic industry with as much entry and growth as online and linked fitness.”
Although John Newman, the deputy head of the competition bureau, stated that Meta was seeking to buy its way to the top rather than compete on merit, the FTC nonetheless deemed the transaction “illegal.”
Moving to block Meta
The metaverse is crucial to the future of Meta, which is already a market leader in virtual reality, according to its CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
The Silicon Valley tycoon acquired the maker of virtual reality equipment Oculus as well as studios that produce programmes for use in virtual environments years ago.
A well-known “Beat Saber” game where players slash at approaching virtual blocks as the music plays has been acquired using meta purchases.
According to the FTC, the lawsuit aims to prevent Meta and Zuckerberg from obtaining Within Unlimited.
The Supernatural app was created by a small studio. Within allows users to exercise while listening to songs by well-known singers like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Coldplay in realism-based virtual environments like the
According to the complaint, fitness apps are “the killer use case for VR.”
Jason Rubin, deputy president of play at Oculus, revealed the purchase of Within in October without providing any financial information.
If the transaction is completed, Supernatural will function independently as a component of Meta’s Reality Labs, according to Rubin’s statement at the time.
According to Rubin, supernatural workouts include regimens synced to popular songs, actual coaches, and “beautiful” virtual locations like Machu Picchu on the surface of Mars.
Some observers of the IT industry questioned whether the FTC action had also conveyed a “chilling message” to developers who seek to profit when their inventions are purchased.
“If traditional exit methods are going to be outlawed, how does the FTC expect startup founders and employees to obtain any liquidity from their hard work?” Michael Pachos, managing director of Samsung Ventures America, sent a tweet to the regulator using his @pachos account.