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Oculus Rift inventor Palmer Luckey quits Facebook after funding anti-Hillary Clinton memes

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Palmer Luckey has left Facebook just three years after the social giant bought his VR hardware company Oculus Rift for $2 billion (£1.6bn). The surprise departures comes after months of speculation regarding his position at Facebook's office following his being forced to apologise for donating $10,000 to Nimble America, an advertising agency that supported Trump's campaign.

The organisation created pro-Trump posts such as a meme that featured Clinton's face and the words "Too big to jail". Luckey has largely kept from the public eye since the news broke last September.  

It is not clear whether Luckey resigned or was told to leave, but Oculus Rift said: "Palmer will be dearly missed. Palmer's legacy extends far beyond Oculus. His inventive spirit helped kickstart the modern VR revolution and build an industry. We're thankful for everything he did for Oculus and VR, and we wish him all the best."

A Silicon Valley icon worth an estimated $700 million, Luckey was supposedly set for life at 21 years old when Facebook bought his company in 2014. He was credited with designing a VR headset out of his parents' home which gave market leaders, such as Samsung's Gear VR, their current form. 

But this story has been called into doubt after Facebook was ordered to pay $500 million to ZeniMax for stealing trade secrets related to the Rift's VR technology. Oculus Rift's co-founder, alongside Luckey, is former ZeniMax employee John Carmack. Facebook is appealing last month's decision. 

Mark Zuckerberg using the Oculus Rift
Mark Zuckerberg using the Oculus Rift, which Facebook bought for $2bn in 2014

Sales figures for the Oculus Rift, which launched last September, are yet to be released. But investors have worried the product will be able to compete with rivals including PlayStation VR and HTC's Vive. The Rift headset was pulled from the shelves of hundreds of Best Buy stores last month reportedly due to a lack of interest. Facebook denied the claim, saying the changes were "seasonal".  

 

Facebook recently asked investors to be patient over the Rift's ability to beat rivals after admitting parts of the business are "a little behind". 

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive, said: "I would ask for the patience of the investor community because we're going to invest a lot in this and it's not going to return or be really profitable for us for quite a while."

Source: http://oculus-rift-inventor-palmer-luckey-quits-facebook-funding/