Elon Musk Declared Battle on Apple, However Twitter Income Nonetheless Relies upon Too A lot on Apple
Elon Musk used his early days on Twitter to do everything in his power to fend off potential big advertisers.
When you run a big media company and that media company makes 90% of its revenue from publicitya good basic objective is not to alienate the companies that buy the most adverts🇧🇷
Elon Muskon the other hand, used his early days as executive director of the twitter to post conspiracy theories, play with an anti-Semitic rapper, and generally do everything in their power to make the app unattractive to marketers.
You advertisers predictably, they responded by halting their campaigns. Musk then threatened to turn his fanatical admirers against them via a “thermonuclear smear campaign”.
He suggested that advertisers who stopped pouring money into Twitter were bowing down to “activists” who are “trying to destroy free speech in America.” The group includes:
- General Motors
- United Airlines
As reported by Financial Timeshe personally called the CEOs of major advertisers “to berate them,” which caused some to cut their spending even further.
How Musk approached advertisers
This was coercive and rude, as well as a resounding failure. Surprisingly, Musk discovered where his limits were when he declared “war” on apple🇧🇷
His campaign began on Nov. 28, when he complained that Apple, which was his company’s biggest advertiser, had “almost stopped advertising on Twitter.” And he asked, “Do they hate free speech in America?”
The claim that Apple had cut Twitter was untrue, at least according to data from Pathmatics, a research firm that tracks digital marketing spending.
The Pathmatics data shows that while Apple has cut its Twitter ad spend since the summer—Apple didn’t explain why, but a good clue to understand is headlines like “Elon Brings One of America’s Most Prominent Nazis From back to Twitter” — and was still paying the company about $1 million a month.
Neither Musk nor Apple responded to requests for comment.
Warning that the “future of civilization” was at stake, Musk lashed out at Apple’s CEO, Tim Cookhinting at what he seemed to perceive as Apple’s greatest vulnerability: regulatory scrutiny of its App Store.
Musk claimed, without offering evidence, that Apple threatened to pull Twitter off the platform. He also accused the company of putting “a secret 30% tax on everything you buy”. (The suggestion of secrecy was comical; App Store fees have been one of the hottest topics in the tech industry for over a year.)
To corroborate his position, Musk posted a parody video created by Epic Games, creators of the fortnitewho sued Apple in 2020 over the in-app purchases scheme, and tweeted a meme suggesting he knew going to war with Apple would be unwise — but was willing to do it anyway.
For a day or so, it looked like Apple had stumbled onto something serious. Members of Musk’s fan club fantasized about the ludicrous possibility of their alpha lord creating his own iPhone competitor, right-wing politicians released worried statements, and Tucker Carlson reacted like Tucker Carlson.
There were snippets of thoughts written: “Mr. Musk has set the stage for a power struggle,” declared the New York Times, warning that Musk’s growing influence among Republicans could spell trouble for Apple.
At the DealBook Summit, Mark Zuckerbergwho went on to blame Cook for the misfortunes of Goalinstead of his own decision to waste money on the metaverse, attacked Apple as a monopolist and “problematic”.
What Musk Can Do on Twitter
But on November 30, Musk issued a unilateral surrender. He deleted the meme and went on to do something approaching flattery, posting a serene video of Apple’s “beautiful HQ” and thanking Cook for a tour and “nice talk.” Musk attributed it all to a “misunderstanding”. There was no mention of Apple’s fee and nothing about the alleged advertising pullback.
Later, Musk claimed that Apple had “fully resumed advertising”. Pathmatics reports that Apple spent around $235,000 in the seven days starting Nov. 28 — in other words, the same amount it was spending at the time Musk declared war.
It made sense that Musk, who has demonstrated a reluctance to back down from a fight, would uncharacteristically reverse course. Not only does Apple wield power over Twitter’s current business, it also controls what Musk said was the company’s future — a hastily conceived scheme to charge users $8 a month for a blue “verification” badge. such as the accounts of celebrities, journalists and politicians.
Any revenue Musk collects through the App Store will be subject to that fee, and any effort by Musk to circumvent Apple’s system — say with a link that sends users of the Twitter app to the web — would likely lead to the company being banned. banned.
That means Musk faces the same sub-optimal choice as usual: either accept about $5.60 per subscriber every month or raise prices within the iPhone app so he’s left with $8 after taxes.
Musk has other options. As my colleague, Mark Gurman, pointed out, he could open a Netflix and trying to register subscribers through the Twitter website, which would likely result in fewer subscriptions. He could choose to challenge Apple, as Epic tried to do, although Epic’s lawsuit ended in Apple’s favor and Fortnite still remains excluded from its App Store.
What is the influence of the billionaire
Another source of influence for Musk — his ability to get right-wing politicians to follow suit — is less robust than it might seem. Yes, he managed to drive Fox News coverage, but his allies in the GOP have positioned themselves, for the most part, as friends of the world’s biggest companies.
Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, likely the next chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has opposed antitrust bills aimed at reining in big tech companies that passed the House of Representatives earlier this year. (The bills have yet to come to a vote in the Senate, and it’s unclear whether the Democrats will have attracted enough support.) Looking ahead, Jordan seems more focused on reining in Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan.
After a recent meeting with Cook, Jordan declared that the dispute over the App Store had been “resolved”. He then complained about Apple’s operations in China, promising to “get to the heart” of Beijing’s potential influence on big American companies. The line of inquiry could also be a threat to Musk, who has aggressively expanded in China.
Of course, Apple’s ability to manipulate a vituperative billionaire is indicative of the company’s broader power in technology. As Musk made his empty threats, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global said Apple blocked its latest app launch because of a feature the company claimed violated the 30% fee policy. Like Musk, Coinbase had no good options except pulling the feature and complaining on Twitter.
Apple held all the cards: its operating system iphone works on most US smartphones, the company is responsible for the vast majority of global smartphone profits, and there seems to be little organized constituency to undermine that power through regulation.
If someone wants to gain access to the profiting iPhone users, they need to follow Cook’s rules. But everyone is allowed to tweet as much as they want.