Elon Musk tweaks Apple over ads, Twitter's App Store future
Elon Musk wasted little time coming back from the Thanksgiving weekend by taking to his own Twitter (TWTR) account to do a little bit of poking the bear.
But, this was no regular bear. This was the biggest bear of them all in the tech world: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).
In a series of tweets Monday, Musk went after Apple (AAPL), and accused the tech giant, and world's most-valuable company, of what he claimed was Apple's (AAPL) slashing of its advertising on Twitter (TWTR). Since completing his $44B acquisition of Twitter (TWTR), Musk has come under fire for numerous matters, including his reported firing of as much as 75% of Twitter's (TWTR) pre-acquisition workforce of 7,500 employees, and allowing some previously banned Twitter (TWTR) users, such as former President Donald Trump, back onto the platform.
And along with the post-acquisition drama, Twitter (TWTR) has also reportedly has lost many of its advertisers. Last week, the nonprofit watchdog group Media Matters published a research report in which it said 50 of Twitter's (TWTR) top 100 advertisers have said they have left, or stopped advertising on the platform.
So, it was within that environment that Musk began tweeting about Apple (AAPL) and its advertising--or lack thereof--on Twitter (TWTR).
"Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter," Musk tweeted. "Do they hate free speech in America?"
As if that weren't enough, Musk followed that tweet up with a message directly to Apple (AAPL) Chief Executive Tim Cook.
"What's going on here @timcook?" Musk tweeted.
However, Musk wasn't finished.
As the day went on, Musk called out Apple (AAPL) over what he claimed was the potential that Twitter's (TWTR) app might soon vanish from the App Store.
"Apple has also threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, but won’t tell us why," Musk tweeted.
But, Musk wasn't done there, as he soon took aim at Apple (AAPL) and the fees it earns from developers on its App Store.
"Did you know Apple puts a secret 30% tax on everything you buy through the App Store?" Musk tweeted.
Musk then published a poll asking his 119M followers whether Apple (AAPL) "should publish all censorship actions it has taken that affect its customers." By the time U.S. stock markets closed Monday, almost 1M people had responded, with 86% saying "yes" to Musk's question.
Musk's duel with Apple (AAPL) actually began over the weekend when he said that if Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) kicked Twitter (TWTR) off their app platforms, he would develop his own smartphone.
"I certainly hope it does not come to that, but, yes, if there is no other choice, I will make an alternative phone," Musk tweeted.
And then, after the market closed, Musk dangled the prospect that the public will soon get some inside dirt on how Twitter (TWTR) allegedly used its platform to tamp down on tweets and opinions that weren't aligned with the company's prior management and philosophies.
"The Twitter files on free speech suppression soon to be published on Twitter itself," Musk tweeted. "The public deserves to know what really happened ... "
Meanwhile, prior to the weekend, Musk said that Twitter (TWTR) would soon relaunch its verification system, with gold and grey checks to join the company's standard blue checks.