Federal regulators will open their campaign to block Facebook parent Meta’s acquisition of a virtual-reality company, with opening statements beginning Thursday in a San Jose, California, courtroom.

When Khan assumed her role in July 2021, she pledged to change perceptions of the agency as a doormat over the past 15 years. During that stretch, Meta, Amazon, Alphabet, and other tech behemoths amassed enormous power during, often by spending billions to acquire companies with little resistance from the FTC.

“Congress created the FTC to stop unfair methods of competition affecting commerce,” said FTC spokesperson Douglas Farrar in a statement. “When we bring cases we are following the laws on the books, and using the tools Congress gave us to protect Americans from illegal business practices.”

Critics see little chance of the lawsuit succeeding, among them Gary Shapiro, head of the Consumer Technology Association. In a Fortune commentary in August, he described the idea that Meta would stifle competition in the still nascent VR space as “laughable.”

Khan argued in April that even courtroom losses in such cases could signal to lawmakers that antitrust laws need to be updated for the modern economy.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg was dropped as a defendant in the case in August, but he is expected to testify.

Under Zuckerberg’s leadership, Meta began a campaign to conquer virtual reality in 2014 with its acquisition of headset maker Oculus VR. Since then, Meta’s VR headsets have become the cornerstone of its growth in the virtual reality space, the FTC noted in its suit. Fueled by the popularity of its top-selling Quest headsets, Meta’s Quest Store has become a leading U.S. platform with more than 400 apps available to download, according to the agency.


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