After news that the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust lawsuit against Meta had removed a crucial snag earlier this week, the agency also appears to have a keen interest in the company’s VR business.
Bloomberg reported that the FTC and several state attorneys general are investigating Meta’s virtual reality division for “potential anti-competitive practices.” New York is said to be leading the statewide investigation, which has been chatting with third-party developers making apps for the Meta VR experience.
State and federal officials are examining how a company may engage in anticompetitive behavior to suppress competition in the virtual reality market. Officials were also concerned about how the company could subsidize the price of the Quest 2 VR headset to push it on consumers and shut down competition, according to Bloomberg.
The fact that the FTC is looking into Meta’s app store, hardware, and software practices suggests that the company’s acquisitions aren’t the only angle in what could be a landmark antitrust case defining the next era of Internet business.
In December, The Information reported that the Federal Trade Commission was looking into Meta’s proposed acquisition of Supernatural, a VR fitness app, in a deal worth more than $400 million.
Earlier this week, a judge ruled that the Federal Trade Commission’s major antitrust case against Facebook (owned by its parent company Meta) can proceed, overturning the company’s efforts to ban it. In December, Facebook asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit and urged Federal Trade Commission chairwoman Lina Khan, an advocate of big tech breaking, to disqualify herself.
In that lawsuit, the FTC accuses Facebook of abusing its market power to suppress competitors in the social media space, and goes so far as to ask a judge to have the parent company Meta strip itself of Instagram and WhatsApp.
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg wrote, “The facts alleged this time to bolster those theories are, however, more robust and detailed than before, particularly in relation to the defendant’s alleged monopoly lines.”
“…Although the agency may have a difficult task down the road in proving its allegations, the court believes that it has now removed the tape and may proceed to discover it.”