The CEO of Meta Platforms Inc., Mark Zuckerberg, says that his company’s lack of a virtual reality fitness app hasn’t kept him awake, but that having it will fuel competition and improve those applications.
“The fact that we possess experiences is not as important as (that) they exist,” he said at a court hearing in San Jose, California. “By joining us, I think we can also help them be at the forefront of this category” and “motivate other companies that are doing other good things in this space.”
Zuckerberg stood as a witness to defend his company’s acquisition of virtual reality startup Inside Unlimited Inc. before the Federal Trade Commission anti-monopoly suit. His testimony Tuesday was part of Meta’s effort to defeat a lawsuit to prevent the company from acquiring the maker of Supernatural—a popular VR fitness app. Zuckerberg’s testimony followed that of Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth a day earlier.
The Federal Trade Commission claims Meta’s plan to buy a competitor will give it an unfair advantage in the burgeoning VR market. The debate was an early test of FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan and her more aggressive stance on antitrust enforcement.
The FTC’s attorney, Abby Dennis, asked Zuckerberg whether in the history of computers, platforms and applications “go together”. She cited testimony Zuckerberg gave earlier in the case, in which, according to Dennis, he said that Facebook intends to build most of the apps for its platform on its own.
Zuckerberg agrees that many companies, including Google and Microsoft Corp. build core apps for their platform.
“Apps tend to hold platforms together rather than vice versa,” he said. But he objected to Dennis’ suggestion that the Inside acquisition was an important departure for his company. He said Facebook and now Meta have focused on applications for social communication and interaction. “We’re not trying to build every app ourselves,” he said.
The FTC sued Meta in July over the deal, accusing the company of seeking to create a monopoly in virtual reality like how Facebook acquired Instagram and WhatsApp to expand its dominance in the social networking space. During the Trump administration, the agency sued the company seeking to rescind those agreements retroactively. That case is pending.
The Inside lawsuit represents the first time the FTC has challenged a settlement by the social media giant, which has purchased more than 100 smaller companies over the past decade. Tech companies and investors are keeping a close eye on the lawsuit amid concerns the lawsuit could make it harder to acquire startups.
U.S. District Judge Edward Davila said he will make a decision later this year on whether to block the Meta acquisition while the FTC conducts a longer administrative process on the deal next year. 2023. Bosworth testified on Monday that if Meta loses in the preliminary trial it will be dropped. would walk away from the deal rather than fight a longer legal battle.
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