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Elon Musk takes on Apple’s power, setting up a clash

In a series of tweets on Monday, Musk accused Apple of threatening to pull Twitter from its App Store and of trying to censor the platform.

Elon Musk has been poised to confront Apple since taking over Twitter. (Image credit: Reuters)

Written by Kate Conger and Tripp Mickle

“What’s going on here @tim_cook?” Elon Musk tweeted on Monday to Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, igniting a spat between the world’s richest man and the world’s most valuable public company.

In a series of tweets over 15 minutes, Musk, the new owner of Twitter, accused Apple of threatening to withhold Twitter from its App Store, a move that would limit some new users from downloading the app. The action would amount to censorship, Musk said, with no explanation from Apple for why Twitter would be blocked. He added that Apple had also reduced its advertising spending on Twitter.

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“Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter. Do they hate free speech in America?” Musk wrote on Monday.

With his tweets, Musk set the stage for a power struggle with Cook, who holds immense influence over other tech companies through Apple’s dominance. Musk has a vested interest now in Apple’s clout because of his ownership of Twitter, which he bought last month for $44 billion. Twitter is distributed through Apple’s App Store and is used by iPhone and iPad owners around the world. In one tweet, Musk implied he was ready for “war” with Apple.

Musk has been poised to confront Apple since taking over Twitter. His business plan is predicated on shifting its revenue from a dependence on advertising to a greater reliance on subscription sales. But any new subscription revenue will be subject to Apple’s practice of taking as much as a 30% cut.

Musk’s complaints also come at a pivotal time for Apple. There’s a push in Congress during the final months of the year to advance a series of antitrust laws. Among the bills under consideration is the Open App Markets Act, which seeks to give developers more control over their apps and allow them to skirt the fees that Apple and Google charge.

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“Elon is the latest chapter in a push to make App Store fees lower, and this will resurrect a topic that’s been fairly quiet over the past six months,” said Gene Munster, managing partner of Loup Ventures, a technology research firm. He said he anticipated a future in which App Store fees were reduced to around 20%.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

First published on: 29-11-2022 at 13:11 IST
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