Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

Of Many complaints about Facebook, One comes consistently: it’s too big. This is why some critics and moderators want to make it smaller by forcing Mark Zuckerberg to make a big acquisition like Instagram.

Zuckerberg’s response: Let’s get bigger by buying More Accessories.

After a brief slowdown in 2018, the year the Cambridge Analytica scandal erupted, Facebook has consistently made large acquisitions – at least 21 per data service pitchbook in the last three years.

A number of agreements have been announced since December 2020, when the U.S. government first filed a no-confidence lawsuit against the company, accusing it of maintaining an illegal monopoly on social networking by buying or crushing competitors. Original suite and a Revised complaint The goal is to force Facebook to remove itself from Instagram and WhatsApp.

In the last few years, Swargram has been run by Facebook’s appetite for deals Giffy, Which lets you place funny GIFs on your social media posts Buyer, A business software company for Facebook’s corporate clients. Most of them, though, are centered on one area: gaming and virtual reality. Which means it’s about to be the most delusional time of the year, as Zuckerberg officially declares that gaming and virtual reality, “the broad and defined, have merged with the hard rubric.MetaverseThe future of Facebook.

So change the name of the company to Meta. But more importantly, there is a promise that Facebook will take thousands of its employees into the effort, and that it plans to lose 10 10 billion this year alone, and much more. “For the next few years

The day after Facebook announced the name change, the company outlined how it would spend some of that money: a. Contract to buy in, The company is co-founded by VR pioneer Chris Milk, best known for it Supernatural Workout app. People familiar with the transaction say Facebook paid more than $ 500 million for the company.

Includes other Metaverse-y agreements announced this year Unit 2 games, Which is known as a “collaborative game creation platform” The purchase; Bigbox VR, Which makes Facebook a popular game for Oculus VR goggles; And DownPower Interactive, Another VR game maker.

Those were the deals Already raising eyebrows Before Facebook officially announces that they represent the future of the company. So what should we think about them now?

That is, if you think that 2021 will require Facebook to be dismantled, to undo past deals like Instagram ($ 1 billion, 2012) and WhatsApp ($ 19 billion, 2014), then you shouldn’t worry about Zuckerberg’s deals, the 2031 version of his company. Doing it now?

A Facebook representative was happy to explain to me the difference: Unlike social networking a decade ago, Facebook could not choose a name for virtual reality / augmented reality / – a lot of big, well-capitalized companies are spending a lot of time and money on it. And, as he takes pains to point out, Zuckerberg envisions a future where Facebook could be one of several companies in the metavars.

Here is an on-the-record statement from Company Recode to explain the thesis:

“Investing in and building on the products that consumers want is the key to success. We can’t create metavers alone – collaboration with developers, creators and experts will be important. As we invest in Metaverse, we know that at every step of the way we face stiff competition from companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple, Snap, Sony, Roblox, Epic and many more. “

Translation: In the near future, Facebook Hall Happy That Snap continues to try to sell sunglasses Who take videos and communicate with your phone because they are theoretical competitors Facebook sunglasses Which takes video and communicates with your phone. And Facebook will be happy next year, when Apple is rumored to be unveiling its virtual reality headset, Because it will compete with Facebook’s Oculus headset.

But it’s also hard to imagine that Facebook expects Apple, Snap and everyone else to be strong competitors forever. One of the main reasons Zuckerberg became interested in Metavers was that he imagined it could give him a way to connect directly with his customers without relying on Apple and Google’s phone duplicates.

The persuasion to acquire Facebook also highlights the difficulty for distrust regulators in dealing with a fast-moving and unpredictable industry. Even the most aggressive antitrust system we’ve seen in the last few years is designed to return timely and correct presumed errors.

Or they’re focused now, like a Proposed law Which would prevent big platforms like Facebook from making big deals in their industry Currently Master

So how do you look to the future and guess that Facebook – Google or Epic Games or Roblox or a startup you have never heard of – will dominate the metaverse? Especially when the metavers never existed, never existed, or could Zuckerberg, science fiction writers and technical executives and investors imagine that it could exist in a very different form than it might be today?

I asked the Federal Trade Commission, the company that is currently suing Facebook for its Instagram and WhatsApp deals, to find out what they think about Facebook’s Metavers ambitions and purchases, but I don’t expect to hear back – because the agency doesn’t want to. To talk about Facebook during a long fight with Facebook, but it probably doesn’t know what it’s thinking.

It is worth mentioning here that the government does not have to win a lawsuit or pass a law to slow down or shut down Facebook’s ambitions. Some of the tech investors I’ve talked to believe that Facebook – temporarily, at least – is out of the market for social networking acquisitions, because there is so much scrutiny and hassle.

“It seems like it’s going to be very difficult for Facebook to achieve anything, especially in the social space,” said one enterprising investor who has sold companies to Facebook in the past.

And that doesn’t just apply to large-ticket acquisitions, it also applies to small “acquisitions” – contracts for companies that are insufficient to bring their engineers and other employees into the Facebook payroll.

Washington has already indicated that it wants to focus more on small deals: in September, The The FTC has released an analysis Over the past decade, 616 transactions by Facebook, Google and other major technology companies have not been large enough to trigger regulatory oversight.

But the existence of the report makes it clear that regulators think they should verify more deals, not less. FTC Commissioner Rebecca Slater made this clear: “I see serial acquisitions as a pack-man strategy.” He said this while publishing the report. “Each individual addition may not seem to have a significant effect, but the combined effect of hundreds of small acquisitions can lead to monopoly behavior.”

You can argue today that Facebook has an exclusive right to social networking – the company is glad to mention the almost overnight success of TikTok that it doesn’t. But there is no question about its huge resources and power. The real question is: will we use those resources to expand its power in the future?

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