Elon Musk Takes Shots At Apple For Scaling Back Advertising On Twitter

Within the past few weeks, Twitter has lost a healthy share of its big-spending advertisers, primarily because of its new CEO and his dramatic moves. The situation was reportedly dire enough that Musk personally called some of the advertising giants to vent his frustration about their exodus. Apple was apparently one of those deep-pocket advertisers wanting to steer clear of Twitter, and Musk is not happy about it.

Musk tweeted earlier today that "Apple mostly stopped advertising on Twitter." Not content with this, Musk called out Apple CEO Tim Cook in a subsequent tweet, enquiring him about the latest developments. Musk seems unrelenting in his criticism of Apple. He has also questioned Apple's political bias in response to a tweet claiming that Apple mostly donates to the Democratic party.

The new Twitter CEO took a jab at Apple's 30% taxation policy for all in-app transactions, a mandate that every app listed on the App Store has to follow. Building up on his criticism, Musk indicated in another tweet that he will go to war with Apple, instead of paying the 30% App Store tax.

It is worth noting that Phil Schiller, an Apple veteran who led the App Store for a long time, quit Twitter a few days ago, soon after Musk reinstated the banned account of Donald Trump. As for advertisers, the biggest concern is that Musk's "free speech absolutist" attitude would hurt the moderation policies, turning Twitter into a less ideal platform for advertising goods and services.

A war with Apple seems nigh

The story doesn't end with ads. Musk claims that Apple has "threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store." Musk didn't clarify whether Apple wants to remove the app from the App Store, or if the company is holding an updated version that might contain controversial changes potentially violating Apple policies. The latter recently happened when Apple kept Spotify from hawking its audiobooks via its streaming app.

When a reporter asked whether Apple was "threatening Twitter's presence in the App Store or otherwise making moderation demands?" Musk only replied with a simple "Yes." In another tweet, Musk started a poll asking his followers whether Apple should publish a record of the "censorship actions" it has taken in the past that have had a negative impact on customers.

Musk has also accused Apple of "secret suppression of free speech" and even appeared to suggest that the company might use its "duopolist powers to hurt Tesla" because the majority of Tesla car owners rely on the eponymous app installed on their iPhones.

Notably, the possibility of Twitter being banned from the App Store, and Google's Play Store, evoked a rather interesting response from Musk over the past weekend. When quizzed about such a future, Musk responded that he would make a phone of his own if Twitter is booted off Apple and Google's app repository. Musk is hoping to accomplish what the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, and Meta failed to pull off.