SAN FRANCISCO — “What’s occurring right here @tim_cook?” Elon Musk tweeted on Monday to Tim Cook dinner, the chief government of Apple, igniting a spat between the world’s richest man and the world’s most precious public firm.
In a collection of tweets over quarter-hour, Mr. Musk, the brand new proprietor of Twitter, accused Apple of threatening to withhold Twitter from its App Retailer, a transfer that may restrict some new customers from downloading the app. The motion would quantity to censorship, Mr. Musk stated. He added that Apple had additionally lowered its promoting spending on Twitter.
With the tweets, Mr. Musk set the stage for an influence battle with Mr. Cook dinner, who holds immense affect over different tech firms by Apple’s dominance. Mr. Musk has a vested curiosity now in Apple’s clout due to his possession of Twitter, which he purchased final month for $44 billion and which is utilized by iPhone homeowners around the globe. In a single tweet, Mr. Musk implied he was prepared for “struggle” with Apple.
A spokesman for Apple didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Apple’s energy over cell apps begins with its App Retailer, a first-rate gateway the place billions of iPhone customers obtain Twitter, Fb, Snapchat, video games and all kinds of different software program applications. Apple prices a 30 % price to builders to promote their software program within the retailer, which has turned apps right into a multibillion-dollar enterprise for the Silicon Valley firm and made it an arbiter of software program distribution.
However that energy has created a backlash amongst app builders, and Apple has confronted rising strain from regulators and politicians around the globe over the App Retailer and its insurance policies. Its App Retailer is the goal of an antitrust investigation by the Justice Division. Final 12 months, the Senate additionally launched antitrust laws geared toward fostering competitors with each Apple’s and Google’s app shops.
With only a few adjustments, Apple may have an effect on cell promoting. Final 12 months, it made a collection of tech adjustments to boost folks’s privateness with cell apps. These shifts made it more durable for a lot of apps to focus on promoting to customers, rankling tech executives together with Mark Zuckerberg, the chief government of Meta, which owns Fb and Instagram.
Apple additionally requires firms to create a “secure expertise” for his or her apps to be listed in its App Retailer. Up to now, Apple and Google have used their positions because the important hyperlink between app builders and shoppers to press for content material moderation. After the Jan. 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol final 12 months, Apple blocked the “free speech” social community Parler from showing in its App Retailer till the service launched guardrails to forestall requires violence on the service.
“In my time at Twitter, representatives of the app shops recurrently raised considerations about content material obtainable on our platform,” Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former head of belief and security, wrote in an editorial in The New York Instances this month. Mr. Roth stated App Retailer reviewers had raised considerations about pornography and racial slurs on Twitter.