Zuckerberg Braces for Battle with Apple over Metaverse as Regulator Warns About Meta’s ‘Virtual Empire’

Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook. Source: A video screenshotsnhot, Youtube/CNET

Facebook‘s parent company Meta and tech giant Apple are locked in a “very deep, philosophical competition” to build the metaverse, with each business trying to determine “what direction the internet should go in,” the social media platform’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly said. Meanwhile, a regulator is concerned about “Meta’s virtual reality empire.”

The entrepreneur presented his opinion on this ongoing competition to Facebook’s employees during a recently held internal meeting, The Verge reported, citing a recording of Zuckerberg’s comments during an internal all-hands meeting. The CEO said that Meta would position itself as the more open, but also a cheaper alternative to Apple’s hardware, as the California-based tech giant is expected to unveil its first augmented reality headset by the end of this year.

“This is a competition of philosophies and ideas, where they believe that by doing everything themselves and tightly integrating that they build a better consumer experience,” Zuckerberg said. “And we believe that there is a lot to be done in specialization across different companies, and [that] will allow a much larger ecosystem to exist.”

The latest development comes as the US Federal Trade Commission has filed a lawsuit to block Meta’s deal to acquire virtual reality dedicated fitness app Supernatural.

“Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is already a key player at each level of the virtual reality sector,” the regulator said in a statement, adding that the company’s “virtual reality empire” includes a top-selling device, a major app store , successful developers, and “one of the best-selling apps of all time.”

It stated that,

“The agency alleges that Meta and Zuckerberg are planning to expand Meta’s virtual reality empire with this attempt to illegally acquire a dedicated fitness app that proves the value of virtual reality to users.”

During a recent earnings call on Meta’s second quarter of 2022, Zuckerberg said of the metaverse that “developing these platforms will unlock hundreds of billions of dollars, if not trillions over time,” according to a transcript by The Motley Fool. However, at the same time, the AR- and VR-focused subsidiary Reality Labs posted a USD 2.8bn operating loss for that quarter.

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