The federal agency considers the acquisition “illegal” because it would risk limiting consumer choices and driving up prices.
The American competition authority (FTC) announced on Wednesday July 27 that it had launched proceedings against Meta (Facebook, Instagram) to prevent it from buying out Within Unlimited and its physical exercise application in virtual reality, Supernatural.
The federal agency views the acquisition as “illegal” because it would risk, according to her, limiting the choices for the consumer and driving up prices, while the Californian giant of social networks is already a dominant player in this market.
“Instead of playing the game of competition, Meta is trying to buy his rise to the top“, said John Newman, the deputy director in charge of competition within the FTC, quoted in a press release. “Meta already has a successful VR fitness app, and has the capabilities to compete with Within’s popular Supernatural app. But Meta chose to buy market share instead of earning it on merit. It is an illegal acquisition“, he asserted.
In the crosshairs of the authorities
The Californian group is already in the crosshairs of competition regulatory authorities. It faces numerous investigations and complaints for abuse of a dominant position in the social networking and online advertising markets. The FTC accuses it in particular of illegal monopoly on the market of “personal social networks“. She criticizes the group for havingillegally bought out or buried new innovators when their popularity became an existential threat», in reference to Instagram and WhatsApp.
Last fall, Facebook rebranded itself as Meta to signal a pivot to the “metaverse», presented as the future of the internet, a parallel universe in augmented and virtual reality. And at the end of October, the company signed an agreement with Within to buy the start-up and its application, already used by thousands of people via Oculus VR headsets, which also belongs to Meta.