On Thursday, the Federal Trade Commission will ask a court to prevent Meta Platforms Inc. from buying a virtual-reality startup. This situation represents a change in US policy. Facebook’s parent company’s metaverse strategy is challenged by antitrust enforcement.
Within is the creator of the fitness app – Supernatural. According to the Federal Trade Commission, Meta’s intention to acquire the company is designed to give it an advantage in dominating the prospective VR market. FTC Chair Lina Khan and her more aggressive approach to mergers, particularly by digital giants, will be tested during the eight-day hearing in San Jose.
The FTC has filed a petition with the US District Judge Edward Davila. In his San Jose, California courtroom, he will listen to arguments and evidence over the next two weeks. A possible witness is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Deal for Within Fitness App Is Part of Meta’s Metaverse Growth Strategy
Meta plans to purchase Within Unlimited have been known since 2021. The dollar amount of the transaction was not revealed by the company. Meta’s major investment in virtual reality realms, or metaverses, is reflected in this deal. That strategic shift sparked the 2021 rebranding of Facebook to Meta.
Mr. Zuckerberg’s purchase of several VR firms adds to his metaverse strategy. However, he has been numerously criticized for the intention to monopolize the industry. The FTC claimed in its July complaint that Meta was attempting to bribe itself to the top of the virtual-reality market rather than fight on merit. The FTC once listed Meta and Within as direct competitors in the virtual reality fitness product market.
Moreover, Within’s “Supernatural” app competes with Facebook’s “Beat Saber,” according to the company. Meta disagreed, claiming that the two apps have little in line. The agency filed an amended complaint in October, which was unusual for the agency to withdraw a theory.
The FTC’s case will now hinge on the idea that the Meta-Within agreement poses a danger to future “potential competition.” Since Meta would have to construct an app that competes with Within’s “Supernatural,” the corporation says blocking its ability to acquire Within would boost competition.
According to the agency, “Within and others need to compete harder to retain customers and enhance their services” because of Meta’s potential entrance into the virtual-reality fitness app market.
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