When Mark Zuckerberg signed off on the acquisition of Oculus VR, he wouldn't have imagined being summoned to testify in a court case potentially worth as much in damages as the $2 billion Facebook originally paid for the company. However, when Zuckerberg took the stand in Dallas yesterday, he indicated that much about Facebook's move into VR had defied his expectations
According to The New York Times' reporting, one line of questioning involved the progress of VR to date, and how that lined up with Zuckerberg's goal of creating a new computing platform. "I don't think that good virtual reality is fully there yet," he said. "It's going to take five or ten more years of development before we get to where we all want to go."
In response to another question, Zuckerberg said: "These things end up being more complex than you think up front. If anything, we may have to invest even more money to get to the goals we had than we had thought up front."
Zuckerberg then indicated that Facebook would probably invest more than $3 billion over the coming decade to, as The New York Times put it, "reach its goal of providing hundreds of millions of people with a good virtual reality experience." It was also revealed that Oculus had initially valued itself at $4 billion, and Facebook paid $700 million in compensation on top of the $2 billion acquisition value to retain key members of its team. A further $300 million is tied to Oculus hitting specific milestones.
In terms of ZeniMax Media's case against Facebook and Oculus, a key focus for the prosecution was establishing the speed with which due diligence was carried out before the deal was completed. Per The NY Times' Mike Isaac, who was live tweeting from the courtroom:
Lawyer, incredulously: "Your plan was to begin legal diligence on Friday, and sign the deal on monday."— ಠ_ಠ (@MikeIsaac) January 17, 2017
Zuckerberg also said that he didn't pay close attention to the ZeniMax lawsuit when it was filed. "It is pretty common when you announce a big deal or do something that all kinds of people just kind of come out of the woodwork and claim that they just own some portion of the deal," he said. "Like most people in the court, I've never even heard of ZeniMax before."
Despite persistent questioning from ZeniMax Media's lawyers, Zuckerberg didn't waiver in his fundamental stance that "Oculus products are built on Oculus technology," labelling any other theory as "just wrong."
heated exchange.— ಠ_ಠ (@MikeIsaac) January 17, 2017
Lawyer: “If you steal my bike, and you paint it and put a bell on it, does that make it your bike?”