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Zuckerberg Claims He Doesn’t Want to ‘Own’ User Experiences, Denies That Meta is Creating VR Monopoly

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The battle for domination in the New Matrix of virtual reality – is now well and truly on. At the center of this clash of titans is Facebook mogul Mark Zuckerberg, who is being accused of trying to leverage a monopoly over the new virtual digital world.

Earlier this month, the Biden Administration accused Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) of trying to buy -up the entire metaverse, and in the process, kicking off a massive antitrust trial which could draw the borders of this new and lucrative digital real estate. This led to Washington’s FTC suing in July to stop Meta from swallowing up virtual reality app developer Within Inc. This is just one of numerous mergers and acquisitions on the planning board for the rapidly growing Zuckerberg VR empire.

But other, more fundamental questions are also emerging from this conundrum: do you own your own virtual experiences, or does Zuckerberg?

The Blaze reports…

Meta Platforms Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that “it’s less important that [Meta] own[s] the experiences than they exist” during a trial with the Federal Trade Commission, which seeks to put a stop to the acquisition of a virtual reality fitness app out of fear Meta would acquire a monopoly in the VR space.

As reported by Yahoo News, Meta is looking to buy Within Unlimited Inc., a company that created a popular VR fitness app called Supernatural. Zuckerberg testified that he does not believe the acquisition would give his company an unfair advantage, rather that it would make the virtual reality space more competitive.

“By joining us I think we can also help them be able to pioneer the category” and “spur other companies who are doing other good things in this space,” Zuckerberg said.

Meta believes that purchasing the company will improve the “fitness mission” of virtual reality in terms of consumer availability. The tech giant also argues that it is important not to delay such an acquisition, as being bought out is a goal many entrepreneurs have, and a lengthy process would discourage people from starting businesses.

“If those opportunities weren’t available, a lot fewer people would take the risk,” said Mark Hansen, lawyer for Meta.

The FTC sued Meta in July 2022, a preemptive move seeking to stop a monopoly from being created. According to FTC lawyer Abby Dennis, Meta has purchased a total of nine VR studios in the last three years, three of which were purchased after Meta announced it would buy Within Unlimited.

“The deal is dead only if Meta wants it to be,” Dennis claimed, rejecting the idea that “the FTC should not be able to challenge any action because challenges take time.”

Meta’s lawyer says the company can’t wait around for another couple of years before buying this company while the government engages in such a long administrative process. Hansen also feels there is no substantive case against Meta.

“The FTC has no case,” Hansen says. “No court has accepted these theories for decades, even with better facts.”

When asked if platforms and apps have generally “gone together” in the past, Zuckerberg said “the apps tend to hold the platform together rather than the other way around.”

“We’re not trying to build every app ourselves,” Zuckerberg explained.

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