Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) has announced that they are opening formal abuse proceedings against Facebook after the introduction of their new login requirements for the Quest 2.
We have previously reported on the controversy surrounding Oculus and Facebooks decision to require a Facebook account to access the Quest 2 in the past. The requirements have been seen as anti-competitive by forcing users to take part in a separate service in order to use their product.
The Bundeskartellamt is the German governments national authority on issues of competition. According to their announcement, they are opening an inquest to investigate “the linkage between Oculus virtual reality products and the social network and Facebook platform.”
According to the President of the Federal Cartel Office, Andreas Mundt:
“With its social network Facebook holds a dominant position in Germany and is also already an important player in the emerging but growing VR (virtual reality) market. We intend to examine whether and to what extent this tying arrangement will affect competition in both areas of activity.”
Facebook already halted sales of Oculus products in Germany prior to the release of the Quest 2 and it’s likely that Germans may not be able to purchase the devices for a long time to come.
A similar case was introduced in the US on December 9th. The United States Federal Trade Commission announced that it had filed a lawsuit with the Washington, D.C. US District Court alleging anticompetitive practices. This suit is not focused on Oculus alone but rather it looks at the wider ranging implications of Facebooks anti-competitive practices.
If these lawsuits and investigations are successful, we could potentially see properties that are currently owned by Facebook like WhatsApp, Instagram, and even Oculus be divested from the larger company and spin off into their own separately owned entities.