Facebook’s $2 Billion Mistake

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) may have made their most expensive mistake yet when they purchased Oculus Rift in 2014 for $2 billion.

Businesswoman sitting at the table with clock. Waiting for break
Businesswoman sitting at the table with clock. Waiting for break

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been a long-time proponent and early adopter of the virtual reality technology made famous by Oculus VR. Unfortunately no amount of fanboying from the tech world’s darling can save the brand from their numerous failings.

When Zuckerberg purchased Oculus VR he declared it, “the leader in virtual reality technology.” The headsets may be the best VR product on the market, but their quality is meaningless when Oculus can’t get its flagship product delivered.

Facebook bet big bucks on the future of VR when it purchased Oculus, but so far Oculus has pushed back their launch date twice. While production setbacks are often expected with groundbreaking technology, Oculus no longer commands the field. In the two years since Zuckerberg’s acquisition Sony, HTC, Samsung, Microsoft and Google are all either poised to or have recently launched their own VR headsets. 

The firm’s initial delay was acceptable to fans who happily crashed the Oculus site when pre-orders for the $600 headsets opened in January. Those who participated in the initial pre-order had originally expected delivery by March but are still waiting. This deadline has since been pushed back to April and now June. To try and alleviate complaints the company has refunded shipping charges to affected customers.

Oculus Rift is creating a growing metaphorical rift between themselves and their patient fans. In what will most likely prove to be a crucial error, the firm is planning on shipping its hotly anticipated headsets to Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) electronics stores a month before shipping pre-orders.

Zuckerberg’s love for the brand won’t be enough to save it now. It will be difficult for Oculus to recover their fan base after disappointing what could have been their most loyal customers.