Get ready to exercise in virtual reality with Meta.
If you’ve been wondering why Meta (META) – Get Free Report CEO Mark Zuckerberg is clinging to the idea of building a metaverse like a drowning man holding fast to the last available lifeboat, you aren’t the only one.
But while Zuckerberg’s headstrong vision has yielded some measure of success — the Meta VR headset Meta Quest 2 had raked in $1.5 billion in total by 2022’s end — that doesn’t compare to the $36 billion that’s been poured into Reality Labs so far.
In the meantime, Zuckerberg soldiers on. One of his latest moves to build his metaverse empire was to try to purchase VR startup Within Unlimited, which offers a popular Meta Quest-exclusive fitness app called “Supernatural” that launched in 2020 that features workouts themed to the music of major artists such as Lady Gaga, The Weeknd, and Coldplay.
But the Federal Trade Commission intervened in July 2022 by suing Meta, saying that the purchase would not be a fair one.
“Instead of competing on the merits, Meta is trying to buy its way to the top,” said FTC Bureau of Competition Deputy Director John Newman. “Meta already owns a best-selling virtual reality fitness app, and it had the capabilities to compete even more closely with Within’s popular Supernatural app. But Meta chose to buy market position instead of earning it on the merits. This is an illegal acquisition, and we will pursue all appropriate relief.”
But now something new has happened in this clash — and it’s likely given Zuck something to smile about.
Meta Gets Closer to the Go-Ahead
Early Wednesday morning, the FTC’s request for a preliminary injunction was denied by U.S. District Judge Edward Davila in San Jose, CA via a sealed decision, Bloomberg reports.
But Meta can’t whip out its enormous wallet just yet. Davila also issued a temporary restraining order to force Meta to pause on closing the deal, as the FTC is granted a week to decide whether or not to appeal the ruling. Both the FTC and Meta declined to comment.
The FTC has been noted for its aggressive approach this year in the tech world. It also sought to block Microsoft’s pending acquisition of video game developer Activision Blizzard in a $69 billion deal that would catapult Microsoft up the ladder in terms of the ranking of the biggest gaming companies. It currently ranks in fourth place, behind Tencent, Sony, and Apple.