Main menu


Twitter collides with Apple and Google in the first confrontation under the management of Elon Musk


Elon Musk has announced big, if confusing, plans for Twitter since he took over the social network last month.

Musk wants to significantly increase the company's revenue through subscriptions, while opening the site to more "freedom of expression", which in some cases seems to mean restoring previously banned accounts such as those owned by former President Donald Trump.

"Don't like Mask?.. Work with us."..Technology companies attract ex-Twitter employees

end of list

But Musk's plans for Twitter could put him in conflict with two of the major technology companies, Apple and Google.

Tensions are running high

One of the biggest risks to Musk's vision of "Twitter 2.0" is the possibility that his changes could violate Apple's or Google's guidelines.

In a tweet last week, Musk complained about app store fees that Google and Apple charge companies like Twitter.

"Apparently, app store fees are very high due to the Android and iOS duopoly... it's a 30% hidden tax on internet usage," Musk wrote in a tweet. In a follow-up post to the tweet, he tagged the account of the Department of Justice's antitrust division, which is said to be investigating App Store rules.

His complaint relates to the 15% to 30% of payments Apple and Google get from in-app purchases, which could eat into the revenue Twitter needs and Musk seeks to impose on Twitter Blue subscriptions, which he set at 8. dollars per month.

Musk's plan to introduce paid blue verification badges also led to chaos and accounts impersonating big companies and numbers, causing some advertisers to distance themselves from the social network.

Title 1419482291 Category ShutterStock, Shutter Stock, Technology, Objects File Type jpg Picture Size 4608 x 3456 Release Information Editorial Use Only. Use of this image for advertising or promotional purposes is prohibited. Description Moscow, Russia - June 03, 2019: Google Play and App Store icons on smartphone screen. App store and Google play are competitors in the market of applications for smartphones. Selective focus. Keywords ShutterStock, Shutter Stock, app, editorial, play, smartphone, android, buy, mobile, touch, google, illustrative, store, technology, icons, market, apple, download, illustrative-editorial, application, phone, logo, online, connect, internet

Musk complained last week about app store fees imposed by Google and Apple on companies such as Twitter (Shutterstock)

App stores audit Twitter

"When I left the company, the calls from the app store's app review teams were already starting," Yoel Roth, Twitter's former head of trust and safety, wrote this month in The New York Times.

Over the weekend, Phil Schiller, Apple's former chief marketing officer who still oversees the App Store, appears to have deleted his Twitter account widely followed by hundreds of thousands of followers.

Fees and subscription revenue

Twitter and Apple have been partners for years. In 2011, Apple integrated its tweets on the platform into its operating system.

Tweets that are considered official company communications are regularly posted on Apple CEO Tim Cook's account, as the company announces its latest products such as new iPhones and its latest big releases directly on Twitter.

But the relationship appears set to change as Musk tries to make more income from subscriptions.

Musk said that the goal in the future is for half of the platform's revenue to come from subscriptions, but in this case hundreds of millions of dollars will go to Apple and Google, which is a small amount for them, but it is likely to be a huge blow to Twitter.

One of Apple's main rules is that digital content — game coins, tokens, or a premium subscription — purchased within an iPhone app must use Apple's in-app purchase mechanism, which directly charges the user 30 percent of sales and drops to 15 percent. % after a year of subscriptions, and you pay the rest to the developer, which in this case is Twitter.

Companies such as Epic Games, Spotify and Match Group have lobbied against Apple and Google's actions as part of the Coalition for App Fairness.

Microsoft and Meta have also filed briefs in court criticizing the system, and have made public remarks targeting app stores.

Musk could sell Twitter Blue on the company's website for cheaper, and tweet to his more than 118 million followers that Twitter Blue is only available on Twitter. This could help cut off revenue from Apple.

Apple approved the release of "Truth Social", which is Trump's social networking application (French)

Power struggle over moderation in content

Musk challenges Apple and Google's power to refuse approval or even pull apps that violate their rules on content moderation and harmful content.

It has happened before, with Apple saying in a letter to Congress last year that it removed more than 30,000 apps from its store due to objectionable content in 2020.

Apple and Google can remove apps for various reasons, such as issues