FTC and Meta Spar in Antitrust Case Over Acquisition of VR Developer

In a suit that aims to block Meta Platforms’ acquisition of virtual reality fitness app developer Within Unlimited, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reportedly said Meta stopped its plans to build such an app itself — thereby stifling competition — while Meta said it never planned to develop a VR fitness app. 

The two parties submitted their filings in a federal court Monday (Nov. 21), Bloomberg reported Tuesday (Nov. 22). 

In the FTC filing, the agency said the acquisition would violate antitrust laws by reducing the number of competitors in the VR fitness app market.

The agency said Meta had hired Within’s head of product, leading Within to expect that Meta was bringing a product to market, that Meta had already developed a VR game and was looking to move into new markets, and that it had the engineers to do so.

An FTC spokesperson declined to comment on the report, beyond what is said in the agency’s filing submitted to the court. 

In the Meta filing, the company said that two executives who would have had to approve such a project gave sworn testimony that they had not done so, that the idea of a VR fitness app had been discarded before moving beyond the discussion phase and that employees had determined that Meta couldn’t build such an app, according to the report. 

In a statement provided to PYMNTS, a Meta spokesperson said the VR space is experiencing vibrant competition and that the company’s acquisition of Within “will be good for people, developers and the VR space.” 

“As we have said from the beginning, the FTC’s case is based on ideology and speculation, not evidence,” the Meta spokesperson said. “We are ready to make our case before the Court.” 

In July, PYMNTS reported that the head of the FTC led a vote to sue Meta despite the objections of the commission’s staff.