Lina Khan Reportedly Canceled FTC Staff to File Meta VR Antitrust Complaint


Federal Trade Commission chief Lina Khan has rejected staff advice to intervene in the acquisition of virtual reality studio Meta, Bloomberg reports. Sources reportedly said Bloomberg that staff had ‘advised’ against suing to block Meta’s acquisition of Within, making popular VR fitness app Supernatural. The FTC voted 3-2 in favor of the lawsuit earlier this week, splitting along Democratic and Republican party lines respectively.

Bloomberg’s the article does not detail the substance of the disagreement over Meta’s Supernatural acquisition, although he notes that “each of the curators had the opportunity to test the product Oculus from Meta, Supernatural from Within and Meta beat the saber.” But the report highlights that Khan is making unusually aggressive efforts to limit the power of companies like Meta, especially compared to past interventions against major tech players. In 2013, for example, the FTC dismissed staff comments recommending antitrust action against Google, ending the investigation despite concerns about its business practices.

The latest combination from the FTC targets the specific category of VR fitness apps. But a key claim is that buying Within has a larger purpose for Meta: “to build and ultimately control a ‘VR metaverse’.” He claims that by buying the fitness studio, Meta is removing competition that might entice him to continue improving his own software offerings, including the fitness-adjacent rhythm game. Defeat Saber. “As early as 2015, Zuckerberg told top Facebook executives that his vision for ‘the next wave of computing’ was control over apps and the platform on which those apps were distributed. “A key part of that strategy was for his company to be ‘completely ubiquitous in apps that kill’.”

Meta, on the other hand, says the suit is “based on ideology and speculation, not evidence.” In an informal response to the suit, he says the suit “completely understands the nature of space and ignores market realities”, positioning beat the saber and Supernatural as more similar than they are. β€œThe FTC has no answer to the most fundamental question,” writes Nikhil Shanbhag, associate general counsel at Meta. “How might Meta’s acquisition of a single fitness app in a dynamic space with many existing and future players hurt competition?”


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