Musk Declares 'War' on Apple

He accuses company of threatening to block Twitter from App Store
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 28, 2022 7:20 PM CST
Musk Threatens to Go to War With Apple
The Twitter logo is seen on the awning of the building that houses the Twitter office in New York, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Elon Musk had another busy day Monday on Twitter—the CEO slammed Apple over issues including free speech and posted a meme suggesting he was ready to "go to war" with the company over App Store policies. "What's going on here @tim_cook?" Musk tweeted to the Apple CEO. "Apple has threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, but won’t tell us why," Musk tweeted. He also said Apple had mostly stopped advertising on Twitter, the New York Times reports. "Do they hate free speech in America?" he asked. The billionaire posted a poll asking whether Apple should "publish all censorship actions it has taken that affect its customers."

The issue Musk threatened to go to war over was the fee of up to 30% that Apple charges on in-app purchases, which would apply to the $8 subscription fee he plans to charge users, the Times reports. Musk called it a "secret 30% tax." In the first quarter of this year, before Musk bought Twitter, Apple was the platform's top advertiser, with its $48 million spend accounting for more than 4% of Twitter's revenue, the Washington Post reports, citing a document compiled from internal data. Apple is far from the only Twitter advertiser to have paused or cut back on spending amid concern over Musk's policies on content moderation and other issues: Analysts say around a third of the company's top 100 advertisers have bailed.

On Friday, Musk said he'll make an "alternative phone" if Apple or Google ban Twitter from their app stores. Musk "has worked out who really holds the power over social media companies," writes James Clayton at the BBC. "The billionaire famously doesn't like being told what to do. And yet Apple holds all the cards when it comes to Twitter," with the power to stop Twitter being downloaded on iPhones worldwide. The Post notes that Musk's tweets were cited by lawmakers including GOP Rep. Ken Buck, who has pushed for legislation to loosen the grip Apple and Google have on the app market. (More Apple stories.)

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