The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed an injunction to prevent social media giant Meta from buying VR studio “Within,” best known for its subscription VR workout app Supernatural.
The FTC insists that Meta is “already a key player at each level of the virtual reality sector” with Oculus Quest, its app store and other instances as evidence of its dominance. The agency believes Meta would "substantially lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly" in the VR fitness market if allowed to buy Within.
FTC Bureau of Competition Deputy Director John Newman said Meta's proposition to buy Within was a way for the tech giant to eliminate competition.
Instead of competing on the merits, Meta is trying to buy its way to the top. 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.
Three out of five commissioners voted in favor of the lawsuit.
Meta announced the deal to acquire Within in October 2021, the same month CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a rebranding of the company (then called Facebook) to focus on the metaverse.
Meta is particularly interested in Within’s VR fitness app called Supernatural. It is a virtual reality app dedicated to offering VR workout experiences with music from top artists like Coldplay, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga.
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