Morning Media Newsfeed: Facebook Buys Oculus | Atlantic Makes Changes | Amazon Credits eBooks

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Facebook Bets $2 Billion on Virtual Reality (Financial Times)
Facebook is making a $2 billion bet that virtual reality headsets will be the next big social platform after computers and smartphones, with the sudden acquisition of Oculus VR. The deal marks an unexpected move by the world’s largest social network into the hardware business, at a time when arch-rival Google is investing in robots, its own Google Glass headset and other long-term ventures. Facebook believes that virtual reality’s applications could extend beyond gaming into entertainment and education. AllFacebook The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter, and it is comprised of $400 million in cash, 23.1 million shares of Facebook class-A common stock (worth $1.6 billion based on the average closing price of $69.35 for the 20 trading days leading up to March 21) and $300 million in potential cash and stock based on reaching certain unspecified milestones. Facebook said in its announcement that more than 75,000 orders have been placed for Oculus Rift development kits, adding that it plans to help Oculus expand into verticals including communications and media. Adweek The Irvine, Calif.-based company’s Rift headset covers the eyes of users and plants them in a virtual reality world in which they can play games, watch movies and interact in new ways. GigaOM Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that he sees Oculus as an opportunity to move beyond the console and toward ubiquitous computing. He doesn’t expect Facebook to make money off of selling Oculus hardware; instead, it might become a ubiquitous world for communication that might contain advertising. “Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home,” Zuckerberg explained. Bloomberg The deal follows a spate of acquisitions that Facebook has used to build up its mobile business. Last month, the company agreed to purchase messaging application WhatsApp for $19 billion. In 2012, Facebook bought mobile photo-sharing program Instagram for about $700 million. Facebook had $11.4 billion in cash and investments at the end of 2013.

Atlantic Media Names Four Co-Presidents (FishbowlNY)
Atlantic Media has named four new co-presidents. James Bennet and Bob Cohn have been named co-presidents of The Atlantic. Kevin Delaney and Jay Lauf haven been tapped as co-presidents of Quartz, the business site from Atlantic Media. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Bennet, who will continue his role as editor-in-chief, will now oversee all editorial and digital properties as well as product and technology. Cohn, who was digital editor, will become chief operating officer as well as co-president, and will preside over all business operations including sales, marketing, AtlanticLIVE and The Wire. Last month, Atlantic president Scott Havens announced he was leaving the company to become senior vice president of digital for Time Inc. Capital New York Atlantic Media has been in the midst of some house cleaning since it lost Justin Smith, its former president, to Bloomberg Media Group last year. Smith had been credited with fostering the 157-year-old brand’s online growth and leading it back to profitability over the past several years. FishbowlDC Earlier this month, Atlantic Media chairman and CEO David Bradley appointed yet another pair of co-presidents during a round of promotions at National Journal Group. NJ editor-in-chief Tim Grieve and publisher Poppy MacDonald added co-president to their existing titles, while Tim Hartman was promoted to CEO.

Check Your Kindle Account for Credit From Apple eBook Settlement (GigaOM)
Book publishers, as part of a price-fixing settlement with state governments, agreed to pay small credits to consumers who bought eligible eBooks between 2010 and 2013. Those credits started showing up in Kindle customers’ accounts Tuesday. GalleyCat The online retailer sent out emails to customers to announce the credits. “The credit results from legal settlements reached with publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan and Penguin in antitrust lawsuits filed by state attorneys general and class plaintiffs about the price of eBooks,” explains the email. HuffPost The publishers settled a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice that accused them of conspiring with Apple to inflate the price of eBooks. According to the lawsuit, back in 2010 the publishers saw working to set eBook prices with Apple, which had just released the first iPad and an accompanying iBooks store, as a chance to fight back against Amazon, which was aggressively cutting prices on its own eBooks to entice people to buy and use Kindles. Mashable People who purchased eBooks between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012 are entitled to a credit of $3.17 per New York Times bestseller and $0.73 for other books.