FTC, multiple states investigating possible anticompetitive practices by virtual reality headset maker Oculus – owned by Facebook, which recently renamed itself Meta
- The Oculus is owned by Meta, the new company name of Zuckerberg’s Facebook and the world’s largest social media company
- Led by the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, third-party developers creating apps for the VR technology have been questioned as part of the investigation
- Antitrust Lawmakers Asked Developers About the Possibility of Oculus Discriminating Third Parties Who Sell Apps in Competition with Meta
- Other topics of discussion include Meta’s sales plan – selling the headset well below other models for $299 – for the headset that undercuts competitors
The Federal Trade Commission and multiple states are investigating the Mark Zuckerberg-owned virtual reality unit Oculus over anticompetitive practices.
The Oculus is owned by Meta, the new company name of Zuckerberg’s Facebook and the world’s largest social media company.
Led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, third-party developers creating apps for the VR technology were questioned as part of the investigation. .
Antitrust lawmakers asked developers about the possibility that the Oculus app store discriminates against third parties who sell apps in competition with Meta’s software.
Other topics of discussion include Meta’s sales plan — selling the headset well below other models for $299 — for the Oculus headset that undercuts competitors.
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Meta, may face antitrust investigations
FTC Commissioner nominee Lina M. Khan is leading the investigation against Meta to see if they are slowing down third-party developers
The Oculus headset dominates the current VR hardware market, accounting for 75 percent of worldwide shipments as of 2021
New York, Tennessee and North Carolina are among the states to join the FTC in the investigation. Meta had similarly faced criticism from the Justice Department from former President Donald Trump.
Representatives from Meta and the New York and Tennessee Attorneys General did not respond to requests for comment. The FTC and the North Carolina Attorney General declined to comment.
The company changed its name from Facebook to Meta in October as part of the building of what Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls “the metaverse” — immersive digital worlds accessible through virtual and augmented reality-powered devices.
Developers claim that Mets uses its social media power to prevent companies from competing with them and copying promising ideas. They also claim that Meta makes it harder for some third-party apps to work properly on the Oculus.
Cix Liv, maker of fitness tracking app Yur Inc., said it started to lose traction when Meta released a software update that stopped the technology from working in games.
The Office of New York Attorney General Letitia James is one of the states investigating Meta by interviewing outside developers
Facebook changed its name to Meta in October 2021. Their social media empire includes Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp
Liv then said that Meta dealt another blow when they released Oculus Move, a very similar app.
Guy Godin, a developer of a virtual desktop app, said he was similarly crushed by Mets.
These investigations are part of the US government’s quest to regulate Big Tech for behavior that they believe undermines competition in the market.
The FTC filed an amended complaint against Meta in 2021, arguing that the company is eliminating competitors by buying them.
The lawsuit is an attempt to settle the company’s acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram. Meta bought Oculus in 2014 for $2 billion.
Meta collaborator Elza Uzmanoff tries out an Oculus device on the campus of the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California
Oculus is the leader in virtual reality, as it currently accounts for 75 percent of worldwide headset shipments.
As with smartphones, Oculus offers an app store that replaces both Meta-developed and third-party apps. Oculus gets 30 percent of all sales.