Elon Musk is dragging Apple into the culture wars - The Verge
Nov 30, 2022 2 mins, 52 secs

Several years into a bruising fight over Apple’s power in the app market, Musk is suddenly jumping into the ring.

The newly minted Twitter owner claimed this week that Apple has “mostly” dropped its Twitter marketing and is threatening to “withhold” the app from iOS, implicitly thanks to Musk’s new laissez-faire approach to moderation.

(Apple, for the record, has not confirmed it’s doing this.) In response, he’s taken aim at Apple’s mobile market dominance, particularly the much-criticized in-app purchase fees.

These measures could ban companies like Apple from inflicting these fees and preferencing their own software products on their app store platforms. .

Responding to Musk accusing Apple of threatening to take Twitter off the App Store, Rep.

Throughout his time as Florida’s governor, DeSantis has grown into one of the GOP’s most fervent culture warriors, taking on beloved companies like Disney as a means of gaining national attention.

He plans to make direct payments a much larger portion of Twitter’s revenue — in the short term through its Twitter Blue subscription and verification service and in the long run by turning Twitter into an “everything app” that includes payment processing.

He recently delayed the relaunch of Twitter Blue and is apparently considering a version that doesn’t allow signups through iOS, evading Apple’s fees.

That includes its own subscription plans for music and video, but in-app purchase fees were a $19 billion market as of last year, and nearly all of that money was concentrated on the most popular games and apps.

Reducing Apple’s market power and opening up the iPhone would almost certainly be good for consumers.

Plenty of lawmakers were already worried about Apple’s market power.

Musk’s attacks against Apple’s App Store fees this week have given Republicans a new opportunity to gain the support of their colleagues, especially as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is actively whipping votes to elect him as speaker next year. .

The most consequential pieces of legislation — the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICO) and the Open App Markets Act — could radically change how large tech companies like Apple operate.

In theory, the bill would force companies like Apple and Google to open up their app stores to more competition, allowing developers to use outside payment processors and users to download software from third-party app stores.

After a bitter fight with Dutch regulators over dating apps, Apple reluctantly let some developers direct users to alternate payment processors.

But then Apple could simply kick Twitter off the App Store — or in the unlikely scenario Apple is forced to allow sideloading, use iOS security options to quarantine it — for reasons that have nothing to do with moderation.

But even if we assume Musk has a piece of hardware ready to drop and he can succeed where Microsoft, Meta, Palm, BlackBerry, and numerous other companies have failed, building a user base takes time that Twitter — currently sunk in billions of dollars of debt — is awfully short on.

But mobile is the lifeblood of social apps, and Apple wields incredible power there — it can make even services like Facebook and Instagram, which are vastly bigger than Twitter, scramble

Apple’s final outcome, Twitter might find it easier to guide people toward the web to buy Twitter Blue subscriptions

But while Apple seems likely to refuse to grant Twitter any special treatment, Musk has successfully painted a target on its back

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