On Thursday, October 13, a court filing showed that Meta filed to dismiss the US Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) lawsuit attempting to block the company’s acquisition of virtual reality startup Within Unlimited.
Meta argued the FTC has not been able to show sufficient evidence proving that the transaction will hurt competition in the young VR fitness space. The acquisition was announced in October, 2021, and follows Meta’s previous acquisition of Oculus, which makes VR headsets. Buying Within and other such companies are intended to add to Meta’s portfolio for users to browse, bringing them to repeatedly visit Meta’s products and services.
The court filing follows the FTC’s move last week to narrow the focus of their lawsuit by dropping the allegations that Meta’s virtual-reality game, Beat Saber, directly competes with Within’s Supernatural fitness app. The FTC’s complaint has been amended to claim that Beat Saber is an “incidental fitness app,” arguing that before the acquisition, Meta would have likely worked to create its own dedicated fitness app that would have competed with Within’s own service.
“The FTC’s attempt to fix its ill-conceived complaint still ignores the facts and the law and relies on pure speculation of a hypothetical future state,” a Meta spokesperson stated in an email. “There is vibrant competition in the fitness space and across VR, and our acquisition of Within will be good for people, developers, and the VR space. For these reasons, the complaint should be dismissed.”
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