Because the antitrust challenge for science and technology company is unusual,Even its critics its legal basis there“缺陷”.用 Meta Associate general counsel Nikhil Shanbhag 的话说,“Meta 收购一个……A single physical application may harm competition？”
然而,如果 FTC The lawsuit success,Is likely to“反垄断”Regulation points out a new trends and direction.It is necessary for us to analyze it and keep continuous attention.
根据 FTC 的文件称,Meta 是拥有 Facebook、Instagram、Messenger 和 WhatsApp Global technology giants,Virtual reality is one of the biggest equipment provider,He is also a leading supplier of application.In its most popular Quest Wearing a driven equipment is very popular,Meta 的 Quest Store Has become one of America's leading application platform,有 400 Multiple applications available for download.
As part of its application extension,Meta Has bought seven of the most successful virtual reality development studio,Now has the world's largest one of the first party virtual reality of contents of.收购 Beat Games Studio let Meta Control of the popular application of Beat Saber.
Meta 在 2019 年收购了 Beat Saber 的开发商 Beat Games.此后,它在 2020 年收购了 Sanzaru Games 和 Ready at Dawn,并在 2021 年收购了 Twisted Pixel、Downpour Interactive 和 BigBox VR.
根据 Within The co-founder and chief executive of,“健身是 VR 的杀手级应用”.FTC In order to persuade the court,Drew a particular category of market——VR Fitness application market.
已经纳入 Meta 公司控制的 Beat Saber,With the proposed Supernatural Has obvious similarities——With rhythm, the cutting floating spheres and cube.不过,Beat Saber 属于“With fitness application”类别,This means that although it is not the main focus on fitness,But exercise may be a by-product of the game;Supernatural Is considered to be a“Special fitness application”,因为它“Exercise offers all kinds of high quality music”,所有这些都在“Like the Galapagos islands are amazing、Realistic environment”.
▲Beat Saber 测评图片
▲SupernaturalWebsite picture（Boxing mode）
可以说,Beat Saber 和 Supernatural 在具体的 VR 健身 APP Field has certain competitive relationship.
根据 FTC 的分析：Meta Have two choices,一是自己开发 VR 健身应用,Another is to buy Beat Saber 的竞争对手——Supernatural;The former will increase consumer choice、促进创新,Stimulate more competition,While the latter will eliminate this into the prospect of,Inhibit the future innovation and competition.Reduce competition violating antitrust law,Therefore the acquisition is illegal.
据报道,消息人士告诉彭博社,有 FTC Members have been“Advise against”Sue to prevent Meta 收购 Within,But was eventually FTC Lina, head of the·Khan rejected,最终 FTC 以 3 票对 2 Votes for the suit.
Foreign media emphasize,莉娜·Sweat is abnormal actively promote restrictions Meta Companies such as power.
二、“垄断”Where is that legal flaws？
1.Too narrow market definition？
FTC Describe these markets as highly concentrated today or may be due to merge and become highly concentrated.
In order to persuade the court litigation established,FTC 为“垄断”Draw a too narrow of relevant market.
事实上,FTC 认为 Meta 对 Within Studio will reduce narrow“VRSpecial fitness application”Markets, as well as a wider range of“VR健身应用”市场的竞争.如前所述, Meta 的 Beat Saber Although not as fitness application design,But have attached fitness benefits.
FTC The harm of theory is,如果没有合并,Meta Application is likely to enter a dedicated fitness market.因此,Mergers and acquisitions will hinder the market diversification of expect.It will also eliminate Meta 和 Within 在更广泛的 VR Fitness applications direct competition in the market.
然而,Market participants include not only those who are actively selling in the market,Also include those who can“Provision of the impact of direct competition with fast response……And will not produce a large number of sunk costs”的人.There is no reason to believe that the fitness applications than any other VR The application is more difficult to develop.因此,任何 VR 应用开发者,Not just fitness application developers,Should be treated as a potential rival.
2.To exaggerate the market concentration？
虚拟现实（VR）Is regarded as a relatively new market,Rather than have mature area of the main big technology companies on top.2020 年 3 月,只有 20 个 VR Application of the total revenue of more than $one million.到 2021 年底,Reach the index of VR Application number up to 120 个.In addition to these high income application,People will find the explosion of new application development.例如,Quest The application of laboratory,目前拥有800 多个 VR 应用.
尽管 Beat Saber 和 Supernatural 很受欢迎,但除 Supernatural 之外,评估 VR The application consuming the body heat“Virtual reality institute of health and sports”（Virtual Reality Institute of Health and Exercise）确定了近 100 And walk with the same or greater influence the body heat（健身功能）的应用程序.
鉴于 VR Fitness application developers are numerous,以及更普遍的 VR Application developers are numerous,VR Fitness application market,甚至 VR Special fitness application market,Is unlikely to be like FTC Claim on.
3.夸大的VR The application development of barriers to entry？
If consumers continue to show the purchase VR Fitness applications will,我们可以合理推测,其他 VR Application developers are likely to launch a similar product.过去两年 Meta 的 Quest VR The application of the app store number indicates that,, there is no significant barriers to entry.
FTC Perhaps fundamentally misread the bilateral platform of economy.FTC认为,Meta May slow its Quest VR The application of app store approval process,To set obstacles for new application development.而实际上,Meta 的 VR Platform only in situations where there are a lot of application are attractive to users,Only in the case of many users will appeal to application developers.The presence of these across a network effect means that Meta Want to attract as many high quality application to the app store,So big probability of not reducing the speed of other than its application for examination and approval of incentive.
此外,SteamVR、Quest App Lab The existence of such alternative app store will stop Meta Limit competition application availability.从下图也可以看出,Meta 在 VR Does not have a dominant market store things.
▲ 2022年1On the world's largest app store/Platform can be used in the application of virtual reality helmet quantity（数据来源：Statistics）
三、Economic considerations——Venture capitalists saidFTCThe inhibition of entrepreneurial innovation enthusiasm
FTC 瞄准 Meta 收购一家“规模较小、Awareness is relatively low start-up”这一事实,In many business immediately rely on technology start-up company bought industry insiders is a wake-up call.
VR Application development of the early investors want to see their return on investment,Report for the most common way is through the start-ups were acquired.2020 年,近 90%Of all the venture-backed startups succeed by being acquired out of the risk investment.
批评 FTC 决定起诉 Meta 的人声称,Once this lawsuit, success,Will limit other start-ups are more、The ability to more mature technology companies buying,Damage other start-ups in the future,从而减少 VR The application of innovation.The final goal is to many start-up technology giant bought by a company and investors' exit strategy core elements.And hinder the acquisition,In fact to the innovation of science and technology start-ups incentives will reduce.
Box首席执行官亚伦·列维（Aaron Levie）认为,Stop buying start-ups,Could inhibit the enthusiasm of entrepreneurs founded a start-up company,Indirectly help the big technology companies,To produce unexpected effect.
More critics point out that,FTC 的行动,而非 Meta 的行动,Is the emerging VR Application of ecosystem new competition in the real threat to.
Meta 高管认为,FTC This pair of monopoly that,是“Based on the ideology and speculation,Rather than the evidence”.While in response to action of informal,Meta 说,诉讼“完全误解了（虚拟）空间的性质,Ignoring the market reality”.
Science and technology, industry executives and risk investment insiders said,FTC Action in fact show that,They are trying to compensate allowed beforeFacebook（Meta）、Google、亚马逊和微软Large-scale acquisition of“Wrong decision”,And this seems to be some compensation“过度”.
但无论如何,The lawsuit on behalf of the United States federal regulators in antitrust law enforcement changes：They traditionally big acquisitions intervention,The acquisition of companies will concentrate in the mature market dominant position;然而,Virtual reality is regarded as a relatively new market,WithinIt is not most important company.
Antitrust will follow this thread to continue to develop,Positive or negative impact on market will,还有待进一步验证.