Although Microsoft is still struggling to convince the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about the net benefits of its Activision Blizzard acquisition, Meta has now scored a major victory against the regulator in a similar court case. The FTC has dropped its case against Meta regarding the purchase of virtual reality company Within.
For those unaware, the FTC filed a lawsuit last year against Meta for its acquisition of VR fitness studio Within, the company behind the Supernatural fitness app. It claimed that the deal would pave the path to a monopolized market for Meta, which already dominates the hardware side of this sector through its Quest 2 headset. Meta strongly disagreed with this statement and slammed the FTC for these allegations in July 2022.
Then, earlier this month, a U.S. District Court declined the FTC's request to stop this deal from going through. Following this setback, the regulator has now dropped its lawsuit against Meta, effectively removing its blockades against the deal.
Although the FTC initially considered appealing the federal court's decision and could have even chosen to pursue the case in an in-house administrative court, it seems that the regulator decided against going down this path. In a statement to Bloomberg, Meta expressed happiness at the decision, saying that:
We’re excited that the Within team has joined Meta, and we’re eager to partner with this talented group in bringing the future of VR fitness to life.
This is the first major loss for FTC commissioner Lina Khan who assumed this role in 2021 under the Biden administration. Khan is (in)famous for her aggressive antitrust stance against big tech firms. Microsoft will be hoping that it faces similar good fortune against Khan in its own ongoing transaction.
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