FTC and Meta prepare for court battle over Within acquisition


The US Federal Trade Commission and Meta are heading to a courtroom in San Jose today, where the regulator will lay out its case for blocking the latter company’s acquisition of VR music-fitness startup Within. The New York Times has a good primer on the notable aspects of the case, particularly the way it involves “an uncommon argument that Meta’s deal would hurt potential competition in a market for virtual reality products that could be robust in the future” rather than that it would harm competition in a current market. There’s also some good detail on how a Meta victory might be somewhat Pyrrhic – because it might be treated as a sign to US policymakers that antitrust laws need to be updated to cover this kind of dynamic. Within is the startup behind VR fitness app Supernatural, which launched in 2020. The following year, Meta announced plans to acquire it, but in July 2022 the FTC announced its intention to block the deal on competition grounds.

Written by: Stuart Dredge