Elon Musk-Apple War Heats Up

The new owner of Twitter wants to find new sources of revenue. Apple stands in its way.

Elon Musk and Apple quietly maintain a rivalry that occasionally comes to light. 

But most often the confrontation is not direct. Both sides throwing barbs at each other from a distance.

Musk is the one who most often fires at the iPhone maker, which sometimes responds with subtlety. This was the case when CEO Tim Cook snubbed Tesla  (TSLA) – Get Free Report last July by borrowing a green metallic R1T pickup truck from Rivian when he attended the famous Allen & Co Sun Valley Conference in Idaho, which brings together tech big bosses. Cook and other people accompanying him took the vehicle to go from the Sun Valley Resort, where the conference was held, to a Downtown restaurant. Rivian  (RIVN) – Get Free Report is Tesla’s young rival.

The rivalry between Musk and Apple  (AAPL) – Get Free Report is all about innovation. Apple is considered the most innovative brand in recent years and its image is synonymous with quality.

The billionaire believes that he and Tesla are the last to have really invented and changed things in the last decade. He sees himself as the greatest visionary of our time, a title often unofficially attributed to Steve Jobs, the late and iconic CEO of Apple.

Musk’s Approach Against Apple’s Rules

“Oh my God, I’ve heard about Apple products. Now is like there’s nothing to look forward to. Right!” Franz von Holzhausen, Tesla’s chief designer, told Spike’s Car radio in February. “I feel like it’s just a continuation. It’s just kind of a slight refinement on the same thing.”

Von Holzhausen added that Apple had not invented anything for a very long time: “Inspirationally, it’s been hard to get, you know, super motivated by what they’re doing.”

The rivalry should undoubtedly get rocky going forward as Musk is the new owner and boss of the social network Twitter. As app distributors, Apple via Apple Store and Google via Google Play have binding policies regarding hateful speech. 

But Musk has a laissez-faire approach which is out of step with Apple. The billionaire believes that everything can be said on social networks as long as it does not violate the law of the country where the remarks are made.

“When people install an app from the App Store, they want to feel confident that it’s safe to do so—that the app doesn’t contain upsetting or offensive content, won’t damage their device, and isn’t likely to cause physical harm from its use,” the iPhone maker said in the Apple Store guidelines. “If you’re looking to shock and offend people, the App Store isn’t the right place for your app.”

Two events that have just occurred suggest Musk and Apple are ready for a wild ride.

Top Apple Executive Leaves Twitter

The first is the departure from Twitter  (TWTR) – Get Free Report of Phil Schiller, who is responsible for leading the App Store and Apple Events. Schiller left the platform after Musk announced that he was reactivating the account of former President Donald Trump, who had been banned from the social network since January 8, 2021, following the events of January 6 on Capitol Hill.

Schiller didn’t give an explanation for his decision to deactivate his account, but it’s curious that it happened right after Musk’s announcement. Personalities and some celebrities have indicated that they will leave the microblogging website if Trump is allowed to return. 

Advertisers like General Motors  (GM) – Get Free Report, Pfizer  (PFE) – Get Free Report and General Mills  (GIS) – Get Free Report also paused their ads to see what content management policy Musk is adopting.

If Schiller says nothing, Musk is more talkative about his fight against Apple. He has once again denounced the fee that the maker of the iPad and the Apple watch applies to in-app sales as well as in-app purchases.

“App store fees are obviously too high due to the iOS/Android duopoly,” Musk blasted on November 18. “It is a hidden 30% tax on the Internet.”

And when a Twitter user asked him if there was a way to fight this “tax”, the billionaire did not hesitate: the Department of Justice must launch an investigation for abuse of a dominant position.

“DoJ Antitrust @JusticeATR,” he responded with a tag to the regulator.

This isn’t the first time Musk has criticized this cut.

“Apple’s store is like having a 30% tax on the Internet. Definitely not ok,” the tech tycoon posted on Twitter on May 3.

He believes this cut is “literally 10 times higher than it should be.”

Musk’s new attack on Apple appears to be a preemptive move in the battle the two companies will be waging in the coming months. 

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