Did Apple Miss a Valuable Virtual Reality Opportunity in Mobile?

Did Apple Miss a Valuable Virtual Reality Opportunity in MobileAs MMW first reported Tuesday, Facebook has confirmed plans to acquire Oculus VR, makers of the Rift headset, for a staggering sum of $2 billion in cash and stock options.

While some were quick to ask if the deal is ultimately in Facebook’s best interest, Mark Zuckerberg made his case for why Oculus is indeed a good fit for Facebook.

Palmer Luckey, the co-founder of Oculus, similarly agrees that Facebook is a better buyer for his company than Apple or Microsoft. But why?

“Why would we want to sell to someone like (Microsoft) or Apple?” Luckey said this week. “So they can tear the company apart and use the pieces to build out their own vision of virtual reality, one that fits whatever current strategy they have? Not a chance.”

But with virtual reality growing hotter by the day and further integration with mobile now looking like an inevitability, did Apple blow a mega opportunity to corner the VR mobile market for iOS?

Although some say Apple should have outbid Facebook, it doesn’t appear that Apple had any more interest in working with Oculus as Oculus had in working with Apple.

“We don’t have to compromise on anything, and can afford to make decisions that are right for the future of virtual reality, not our current revenue,” Luckey says, noting that Oculus will remain independently operated. “Keep in mind that we already have great partners who invested heavily in Oculus and got us to where we are, so we have not had full control of our destiny for some time. Facebook believes in our long term vision, and they want us to continue executing on our roadmap, not control what we do.”

So, do you think Apple dropped by the ball and passed up an invaluable opportunity here?