Facebook move to buy VR player Oculus Rift gets a big fat 'like' from FTC


The Federal Trade Commission is green lighting Facebook's $2 billion acquisition of virtual reality goggles maker Oculus VR.The news arrived quietly on Wednesday.

"We're pleased the FTC has cleared our acquisition of Oculus," a Facebook spokeswoman said. Oculus reportedly declined to comment.

Given the social media company has spent $21 billion in acquisition costs in just a few short months, when you add in the WhatsApp purchase ($19 billion), one has to wonder what CEO Mark Zuckerberg will buy next.

Maybe it'll be a smartphone company. Too bad Nokia is selling its set phone unit so quick to Microsoft for $7.5 billion. Maybe Facebook will move into the wearables market and grab up Nike's FuelBand hardware. Or maybe Facebook will just sit back and figure out how to mesh, meld and very likely somehow integrate the two technologies.

The FTC approval arrived without any of the public fanfare that swirled about the initial news of the virtual reality company's decision to sell and the revealed sale price of WhatsApp.

On the public front both acquisitions sparked surprise and some public outrage, especially by Oculus fans, many of which donated to the initial crowdfunding effort that got the company on the map.

Early backers were super mad with CEO and founder Palmer Luckey when the sale news broke. And after all, why shouldn't they be as Luckey went on record more than once in the past nine months stating he wasn't interested in selling.

Back in July 2013, four years after the birth of his virtual reality headset, Luckey was queried about a potential sale.

"I mean I'm a millionaire in hypothetical dollars..." he said. "No I don't have a ton of money; I have equity in the company. But we're not planning on selling the company or doing anything to liquidate that - we're trying to remain independent and build what we're building."

Just last month, on March 3, Luckey was quoted as stating his company was staying independent but admitted "everyone has a number."

"We want to do things our way. There are certainly people who are interested... but we have a vision for our consumer product and we know that we're going to be able to pull it off. We don't want to be assimilated into someone who's going to have us working on their own product or their own vision of VR - we want to be able to deliver our own vision of what VR is," he said.

Less than two weeks later Luckey signed off on selling Oculus to Facebook for $2 billion.

In a company blog on March 25  Luckey called the partnership "one of the most important moments for virtual reality."

Since his mindset change, and obviously much larger bank account, he also promised the headset's games will stay open and that the acquisition should drop the gear's price point, which is now about $350.

"I guarantee that you won't need to log into your Facebook account every time you wanna use the Oculus Rift," he told the critics.

Zuckerberg has also been busy reassuring Oculus fans, some of which sought refunds given the sale news.

"Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate," Zuckerberg said.

In fact, the entrepreneur envisions a future where Facebook users could slip on a set of the virtual reality goggles and enjoy a courtside seat at a basketball game, consult with a doctor face-to-face, or go shopping in a virtual store.

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