Elon Musk picks up a fight with Apple- but why?

The anti-Apple crowd has the backing of the world's richest person.
Ameya Paleja

Elon Musk might have just propped himself as the new face of the anti-Apple group working to counter the iPhone maker's monopoly in the app market. In a tweet, Musk accused Apple of threatening to withhold Twitter from the App Store without giving any specific reason and called it censorship.

Since his Twitter acquisition, Elon Musk has primarily been in the news for the things that have happened inside the social media company, whether it is firing half of the workforce or asking the remaining crew to commit more hours of work at a higher intensity to build a new version of the social media company.

On Monday, though, Musk appeared more focused on external factors that could affect his newly acquired social media company, and his target was none other than the world's most publicly valued company, Apple.

Elon Musk confronts Apple

Apple was at the receiving end of a series of tweets from Elon Musk, one directed at CEO Tim Cook. During this time, Musk responded to tweets by others who also allegedly felt that they were censored by Apple and even set up a poll to ask people if the Cupertino-based company should publish their censorship actions.

Apart from reiterating a well-known fact that Apple charged app developers up to 30 percent commission on their sales, Musk also wanted to know why the Tim Cook-led company had stopped advertising on its platform.

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Musk went on to claim that his outburst was in defense of free speech in the U.S.

The timing of Musk's salvo at Apple

If we have learned anything about Elon Musk, we know that his tweets aren't just random thoughts but sweetly synchronized messages aimed at extracting maximum advantage for himself.

Musk may have commented supporting Fortnite's video that makes fun of Apple's monopoly, but Fornite's battle with Apple has been raging for years.

Apple's high commission, which Musk is calling a tax now, has been in effect for many years but is expected to hit him now as he looks to roll out a paid subscription service at Twitter which he hopes to bring him substantial revenues.

Although Apple won't budge from its stance after a Musk shout-out, the company will have to revise its fees if the bipartisan Open App Markets Act currently under consideration by the U.S. Congress comes into force soon. Even a 10 percent reduction in commission would mean millions of extra income for Twitter, something Musk desperately needs.

As per a Tech Crunch report, even losing content moderation policy and recalling controversial figures on Twitter is unlikely to see the app being dropped from the App Store. So, Musk's tirade is unlikely to get him a reward or censure from Apple. But by voicing his opposition at the perfect time, Musk could stand a lot more clout and bragging rights among his followers if Congress passes the Act before the end of the year. All without having worked on it at all.