Another new front for Musk. “Did you know that Apple is imposing a secret 30% tax on everything you buy through its App Store?” the owner of the social network, which has been filming everything that has moved since its arrival, tweeted on Monday night. to power. The remark echoes allegations of abuse of dominance against Apple. Briefly summed up, they consist of an attack on the specified 30% tax on purchases inside their app store (15% under certain income conditions). A place that is also important for its iOS operating system, which does not allow any other “store” to be used on its devices, is among the best-selling in the world.
Far from being “secret”, this collection has already drawn a complaint from Epic Games, the publisher of the game Fortnite. And to an indecisive victory for Apple, which, without questioning its model, opened the door to alternative payments, allowing many players to bypass its highly lucrative tithing. Including Twitter, even if some of the revenue generated by its new eight-dollar “blue” subscriptions is likely to go to Apple.
However, like his fight against bots and fake accounts – also legal in essence – this case is an excuse to cover up Musk’s great difficulties. “Apple has practically stopped advertising on Twitter. Does America hate free speech? He really has something to worry about. According to The Washington Post, Apple was one of the biggest contributors to Twitter ad revenue in the first quarter, spending $48 million on the social network. That is, in the amount of 4% of his income. The slap hurts Elon Musk all the more because Apple isn’t the only one to turn off the faucet in recent weeks.
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According to a study by Media Matters for America, 50 of the top 100 Twitter advertisers recently stopped advertising on Twitter or said they plan to do so. They represent “nearly $2 billion in platform spending from 2020 and more than $750 million in ad spend in 2022 alone,” the organization points out. Among them: Chanel, AT&T, Coca-Cola, Verizon or even Nestlé. Companies were burned by the delay around verified accounts, which led to a wave of usurpations, sometimes crushing. Companies are worried about the return of those who have been banned on the platform by the dozens, such as Donald Trump and Kanye West. Companies are finally worried about a sharp reduction in staff, especially those responsible for moderation.
This bloodletting is a new challenge for Musk, who has bought a company whose business model is 90% advertising. Knowing about this dependence, which very rarely made the social network profitable, the billionaire launched a number of projects to diversify his income. But in the short term, Twitter’s sustainability depends on advertising. Musk knows this well. In recent posts, the Tesla and Space X boss has been working hard to demonstrate that his platform remains as attractive to users as ever. Currently, his Twitter 2.0, according to his statistics, has never had so many monetized users and new registrations due to such a small amount of “hate speech”.
However, the discrediting of Apple, the most valuable company in the world, simply one of the most powerful on the planet, confirms the hypothesis of a bitter failure. All of Musk’s recent skirmishes seem more like revenge than a well-thought-out strategy.
On Monday, the entrepreneur accused Apple of wanting to remove his app from its store (hence censoring it) without providing any evidence for his claims. He had previously thought confidentially about developing his own smartphone (to counter Apple). Everything is interspersed with bombastic tweets: “This is a battle for the future of civilization. If freedom of speech is lost, even in America, tyranny awaits us.” Noise, a lot of noise, pleasing some Internet users. But who is struggling to hide some of the restless music that is spreading across the platform.
Chronicle of Denis de Bechillon
Chronicle of Cecile Maisonneuve