The federal trade commission looks set to block Meta’s acquisition of VR fitness App Company. FTC at the moment alleges that the tech company already has a ‘virtual reality empire.’
The Federal Trade Commission Looks Set to Block Meta’s Acquisition Of VR Fitness App Company
On Wednesday, the US federal trade commission said that it is currently looking to block the acquisition of Within Unlimited which is a company that makes virtual reality fitness app by Meta which is in turn the parent company of Facebook.
What the FTC Has To Say about the Acquisition
“The agency alleges that Meta and [Meta CEO Mark] Zuckerberg are planning to expand Meta’s virtual reality empire with this attempt to illegally acquire a dedicated fitness app that proves the value of virtual reality to users,” the federal trade commission said in a release.
The deputy director of the FTC’s bureau of competition john Newman alleged that Meta “had the capabilities to compete even more closely with Within’s popular Supernatural app … [but] chose to buy market position instead of earning it on the merits.”
Meta Purchased Fitness Subscription Service Supernatural Last Year
In October last year, Meta announced already its purchase of the fitness subscription service Supernatural which is of course made by Within Unlimited. The service and app by Supernatural connect with the apple watch of a user to help track heart rate during workouts similarly to apple Fitness Plus.
Supernatural generally makes use of video avatars of instructors in combination with motion-tracked workout routines and this sometimes feels like a ramped-up fitness version of Meta’s VR game Beat Saber.
Meta’s Response to the Blocked Acquisition
“The idea that this acquisition would lead to anticompetitive outcomes in a dynamic space with as much entry and growth as online and connected fitness is simply not credible,” in an emailed statement, a spokesperson from Meta said. “We are confident that our acquisition of Within will be good for people, developers, and the VR space.”
Earlier this week, Meta made the announcement that it was increasing the price of its VR headset by $100 which is part of a move by the company to “continue investing in moving the VR industry forward for the long term.”
The 128GB version of the Quest 2 VR headset starting from august 1 will increase from $300 to $400. Also, the pricing of the 256GB model will increase from $400 to $500.
The decision on whether the purchase can continue will be decided by a federal court. This is after the FTC on Wednesday filed a complaint.