US competition authorities have given up their opposition to the attempt by the Facebook group Meta to expand its strong position in the virtual reality business through an acquisition. After losing in court, they withdrew their objections to acquiring the company behind a VR fitness app, according to a document released over the weekend.
With virtual reality (VR), users can immerse themselves in digital worlds with special glasses. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg got into the business early on when he bought VR glasses pioneer Oculus in 2014. The company is now a leading player in the market for glasses and a platform for VR content. Zuckerberg also announced the goal of establishing virtual worlds - the "Metaverse" - as a computer platform. The change in the company name from Facebook to Meta also has something to do with this.
The company Within Unlimited, which wants to buy Meta, is behind a VR fitness app called Supernatural. The competition authority FTC argued that Meta with its "VR empire" wanted to occupy this market through acquisition instead of competing for it with its own offer. However, a judge dismissed the request to block the deal with a restraining order. Among other things, it has not been proven that Meta would have entered the market on its own, he explained. The FTC has already refrained from appealing the decision.
The FTC, under President Joe Biden-appointed boss Lina Khan, is taking a tougher stance on the big tech companies, which have long benefited from lax competition regulation in the United States. Among other things, she was trying to prevent the takeover of the games group Activision Blizzard by Microsoft with a lawsuit.