Germany’s Bundeskartellmt (which TechCrunch translates as Germany’s Federal Cartel Office), has initiated abuse proceedings against Facebook to examine the linkage between Oculus virtual reality products and the social network and Facebook platform.
Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartllmt wrote:
“In the future, the use of the new Oculus glasses requires the user to also have a Facebook account. Linking virtual reality products and the group’s social network in this way could constitute a prohibited abuse of dominance by Facebook. 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.”
In August, Facebook announced that it was changing the name of the VR business it acquired back in 2014 for around $2 billion – and had allowed to operate separately – to “Facebook Reality Labs,” signaling the assimilation of Oculus into its wider social empire, TechCrunch reported.
Also in August, Oculus announced that users would be required to log into Oculus with their Facebook accounts – beginning in October of 2020. Oculus users who did not have a Facebook account, and who did not want to make one, would eventually be unable to use Oculus.
TechCrunch reported that a Facebook spokesperson sent a statement. “While Oculus devices are not currently available for sale in Germany, we will cooperate fully with the Bundeskartellamt and are confident we can demonstrate that there is no basis to the investigation.”
We will have to wait and see what happens with Germany’s investigation into Facebook requiring Oculus users to have a Facebook account. Meanwhile, Oculus users in the United States, who want to continue using Oculus, are required to have a Facebook account. To me, it seems like if you want to use Oculus, you have to be tied to Facebook forever – or lose access.