Internet giant Meta has achieved great success in a highly publicized antitrust dispute: according to media reports, a Californian judge has now refused to block the takeover of Within, a company specializing in virtual reality technologies.

The US competition authority FTC had applied to the court for an injunction to bring the transaction to failure.

The judge's decision has not yet been made public.

Roland Lindner

Business correspondent in New York.

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For the FTC, the judge's verdict is a serious defeat.

She had taken a big risk with the cartel dispute, because this was a comparatively small takeover.

The transaction was agreed in autumn 2021, the purchase price was not officially announced, but is said to be just over 400 million dollars.

Within makes the popular fitness app Supernatural, which uses VR technology.

For Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, VR is an important building block in his strategy for the so-called Metaverse, which he sees as a promising field.

Unusual lawsuit signaled a more aggressive course

Last July, the FTC filed a lawsuit to stop the acquisition.

She argued that Within would pave the way for Meta to become a dominant player in the VR market.

"Meta would be one step closer to his ultimate goal of owning the entire metaverse," she said.

With the unusual lawsuit, she signaled that she was pursuing a more aggressive course to stop takeovers.

In the court proceedings surrounding the acquisition of Within, Zuckerberg himself testified as a witness.

The judge's decision need not be the last word.

A process is also underway within the FTC itself, with a trial before an in-house judge scheduled to begin on February 13.

However, the verdict puts the FTC in a worse starting position here.

The loss also bodes ill for the second major cartel standoff the FTC is currently fighting against Meta.

This is about a lawsuit that the authority filed a good two years ago, in which it accuses the Internet company of illegally defending its monopoly.

With the lawsuit, she wants to force a breakup of Meta.

According to her will, the company should separate from the services Instagram and Whatsapp that were once purchased.