Meta’s plan to buy a VR fitness app, Supernatural, is in danger of falling apart because the U.S. Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a lawsuit against the company.
In a complaint filed today in the Northern District Court of California, the FTC alleges that Meta’s acquisition of VR development unit Within and fitness app Supernatural was illegal under U.S. antitrust laws and is a way of “competition based on merit.”
FTC seeks to block virtual reality giant Meta’s acquisition of popular app creator Within: https://t.co/b87juAolBw
— FTC (@FTC) July 27, 2022
The lawsuit states that Meta is a “potential player in the virtual reality sports app market” with the resources to develop its own app. Instead, it has chosen to acquire Supernatural by acquiring Within. The move would halt “innovation and competition” among domestic companies.
The FTC also notes that Meta has spent the past few years acquiring many popular VR studios, such as Beat Games, the team behind the popular VR title Beat Saber. Similarly, the agency also found that owning multiple studios would affect competitive innovation.
Meta previously revealed plans to acquire Within for $400 million in October last year. Unless the court intervenes, the deal will likely go ahead as planned on August 1.
Meta isn’t exactly worried about the whole situation. This is not even close to being Meta’s first lawsuit move. Before changing its name to Meta, Facebook was sued by the Federal Trade Commission for $19 billion.
The complaint charged that they illegally acquired two messaging apps – WhatsApp and Instagram- in 2014 with similar concerns. The Federal Trade Commission has charged that acquiring these platforms poses a direct threat to the industry and makes it difficult for competitors to grow.