A federal judge in the United States has reportedly given approval for tech giant Meta to move forward on acquiring a virtual reality company.
Reports by a Feb. 1 report from Bloomberg, Judge Edward Davila in United States District Court for the Northern District of California denied an injunction by the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, as part of an attempt to block Meta from purchasing VR company Within. Nonetheless, he likewise reportedly announced a short-term restraining order preventing Meta from closing the deal for at least a week.
The ruling was part of a lawsuit filed by the FTC against Meta and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in July in an effort to block the tech company from “its ultimate goal of owning the entire ‘metaverse.’” Meta had planned to buy Within and its fitness application Supernatural, allegedly to acquire a potential threat to its metaverse network plans.
Before rebranding to Meta, Facebook faced a similar “anticompetitive conduct” FTC complaint in 2020 for its acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014 and Instagram in 2012 for allegedly stifling innovation by buying the competition. The messaging and photo sharing applications had been potential challengers to Facebook’s Messenger application and social media site.
If successful in its legal efforts, Meta would likely be able to acquire small corporations offering metaverse-related products or services and have them operate under its umbrella rather than as competitors. The FTC reportedly has a week to file an appeal to Judge Davila’s decision.
Zuckerberg stated in a November interview that Meta was “powering through” any doubts regarding its metaverse network ambitions. The company informed $3.67 Billion in losses for the third quarter of 2022, with expectations that these numbers would boost in 2023. Meta’s earnings report for the fourth quarter of 2022 will be released on Feb. 1.