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You’re here and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who is also the new owner and CEO of Twitterslammed Apple this week after claiming the company threatened to remove the Twitter app from its App Store, accusing the company of hating “free speech”.
The Twitter app is still available for iOS devices, and there’s no indication that the popular social media app is actually in danger of being started by Apple.
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Tesla CEO’s Furious Tweets Recall How Musk Long Shot Appleand highlighted just how much power the tech juggernaut still has over the richest person in the world.
Meanwhile, Apple as a company never engages in public discussions against Musk or Tesla, and has even avoided shooting them in whispers, unlike the frequent oblique criticism aimed at Facebook. .
Behind all the attacks, Musk has great admiration for original Apple founder Steve Jobs. Musk even began working with Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson on his own official biography.
A one-sided war of words
The latest wave of Apple insults from Musk began last week. This week, Musk claimed in a tweet that Apple had practically stopped advertising on the Twitter platform.
He tried to provoke Apple CEO Tim Cook into a public discussion about cutting Twitter advertising, asking him if Apple hates “free speech in America” and “what’s going on here”. Cook did not answer.
Apple isn’t alone in scaling back its campaigns on the social media platform since Musk took over.
After Musk entered into a leveraged buyout deal on Oct. 28 and named himself CEO, a spike in racist and anti-Semitic anti-black hate speech flooded the platform, in part due to coordinated raids by users on the 4chan online chat platform.
Musk also began to drastically cut Twitter’s workforce, gutting sales teams, teams responsible for measuring Twitter performance, and content moderation teams, among others.
Twitter has since been losing advertisers and ad revenue, with civil rights groups and previous advertisers on the platform pressuring Musk to prove his much smaller team can responsibly handle content moderation, advertising campaigns, cybersecurity and more.
Whether accurate or not, Musk’s allegation that Apple “threatened to pull” Twitter from its App Store may resonate with other developers.
Apple is notorious for providing few details when notifying app makers that their apps may experience delayed updates or be removed from the App Store. The answers inside Apple’s App Store Connect platform are terse, usually citing a rule, but not specifying what an app maker needs to do specifically to fix the problem – for example, Apple can say that the application has a “metadata problem” or uses a prohibited application programming interface.
Musk also chafes at Apple’s platform fees, which make up between 15% and 30% of total digital sales, like the $8 Twitter Blue subscription that Musk says could be a major product for the company. company. Musk said it was a “de facto global tax” on the internet before he took over Twitter, but in his new role as app owner he attacked it with increasing vigor.
This week, he tweeted and deleted a meme suggesting he’d rather “wage war” than pay Apple 30%.
Earlier this week, Apple declined to comment on Apple’s alleged suspension threat or ad spend with Twitter.
A long history of competition
Tesla and Apple are neighbors in the San Francisco Bay Area, which means they’ve been vying for talent for more than a decade. Now that competition has spread to Texas.
Both companies need mechanical engineers, industrial designers, materials science and battery experts, and skilled software engineers.
Apple has also invested heavily in developing its own autonomous electric vehicle technology. If the so-called “Apple Car” ever hits the market, Tesla and Apple would be direct competitors.
In this context, early examples of Musk tweaking Apple could be seen as a friendly rivalry.
When Tesla was still an underdog and upstart, Musk used to call Apple the “Tesla’s graveyard,” according to several former Tesla employees who spoke to CNBC. Internally, he would encourage disgruntled Tesla workers to apply for cushy jobs at Apple.
He eventually brought this up in a public interview, saying that Apple hired people who were fired from Tesla.
In 2018, dozens of former Tesla employees landed at Apple, some of whom were terminated and others who simply left Tesla. At that time, the electric vehicle maker’s North American PR team told CNBC: “Tesla is the hardest route. We have 100 times less money than Apple, so of course they can afford to pay more.”
One of the most notable people to switch sides was Doug Field, who started at Apple, joined Tesla and then joined Apple. He now works for a more direct competitor to Tesla, Ford.
Last summer, Musk laid out some of his problems with the way Apple does business during a Tesla earnings call, though he was careful not to name the company at first.
He began by criticizing the amount of cobalt, a mineral linked to human rights abuses, that Apple uses to make its device batteries. In 2018, Musk pledged to completely phase out Tesla’s use of cobalt in its production. Tesla has moved a significant portion of its vehicles to a type of battery called LFP, or lithium iron phosphate battery. However, he has yet to completely eliminate the need for cobalt.
In its latest impact report, Tesla wrote, “We expect our absolute demand for cobalt to increase over the next several years as our rate of growth in vehicle and cell production is expected to exceed the overall rate of cobalt reduction per cell”.
On the charging front, Tesla is experimenting with ways to give other EV drivers access to its network. But the company has yet to open the charge on a consumer basis.
Later in the earnings call, Musk criticized Apple’s “walled garden” business model when answering a question about when Tesla chargers might be able to charge other brands of vehicles.
“I think we want to emphasize that our goal is to support the advent of sustainable energy,” Musk said. “It’s not about creating a walled garden and using it to bludgeon our competitors, which some companies are using.”
In case anyone missed the reference to Apple’s App Store, which Apple maintains as the exclusive way to distribute apps on its devices, Musk then faked a cough and said “Apple.”
Musk also used the Apple name to generate buzz. In September, when Apple announcement Satellite connectivity in its new iPhone 14 models (with the satellites being operated by GlobalStar) Musk suggested that Apple had considered using Starlink, which uses a different technology.
“We had promising conversations with Apple about Starlink connectivity,” Musk tweeted, congratulating the iPhone team. Apple has never acknowledged any negotiations or even discussions with SpaceX.
Cook and Musk
Have Apple CEO Tim Cook and Musk ever spoken in depth?
According to Cook, the answer is no.
Apple’s chief said in a 2021 podcast that he has “great admiration and respect” for Tesla, but had never spoken with Elon Musk. The two were pictured walking apart with other business leaders during a 2016 meeting with former President Donald Trump at Trump Tower.
But Musk says Apple declined his offer to acquire Tesla years ago, when the electric vehicle maker’s market capitalization was a fraction of its current value.
“During the darker days of the Model 3 program, I reached out to Tim Cook to discuss the possibility of Apple acquiring Tesla (for 1/10 of our current value). He declined to attend the meeting,” said tweeted Musk in 2020.
Another version of the story comes from “Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century”, a book by economics journalist Tim Higgins.
Around 2016, according to the book, Musk and Cook talked about Apple’s potential acquisition of Tesla. He was struggling with high costs and shipping issues for his Model 3 car at the time. Apple, with its manufacturing expertise and large sums of money, would have been a perfect buyer.
Except that, according to Higgins, Musk had one condition: he wanted to become CEO of the Apple-Tesla partnership.
“F— you,” Cook said, according to the book.
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