Elon Musk has criticized Apple for years. Apple largely ignored it

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Tesla and CEO of Elon Musk, the new owner and CEO of SpaceX Twitterlashed out at Apple this week, accusing it of hating “free speech” after the company threatened to remove its Twitter app from the App Store.

The Twitter app is still available for iOS devices, and there are no signs that the popular social media app is at risk of being taken down by Apple.

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Tesla shares are suffering from Musk’s takeover of Twitter, according to a Morgan Stanley investor survey.

The Tesla CEO’s angry tweets are a reminder of how Musk has long fired back appleand highlighted how much power the tech juggernaut still has over the world’s richest man.

Meanwhile, Apple as a company never engages in public trash-talking with Musk or Tesla, and even avoids covering them up, unlike the frequent criticism leveled at Facebook.

Behind all the attacks, Musk has a great admiration for Steve Jobs, the first founder of Apple. Musk has even begun working on his own official biography with Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson.

A one-sided war of words

Musk’s latest Apple insults began last week. Musk this week claimed in his tweet Apple has largely stopped advertising on its Twitter platform.

He tried to provoke Apple CEO Tim Cook into a public debate about the ad cuts on Twitter, asking him if Apple hates “free speech in America” ​​and “what’s going on here.” Cook did not respond.

Since Musk took office, Apple has not been alone in scaling back its campaigns on the social media platform.

Since Musk closed the leveraged buyout deal and installed himself as CEO on Oct. 28, an increase in anti-black and anti-Semitic hate speech has engulfed the platform, in part due to user-coordinated raids on the online chat platform 4chan.

Musk also began drastic cuts in Twitter’s workforce, laying off sales teams, teams responsible for measuring Twitter performance metrics, and content moderation teams, among others.

Twitter has since been losing advertisers and ad revenue, with civil rights groups and former advertisers on the platform pressuring Musk to ensure that his smaller team can responsibly manage content moderation, ad campaigns, cybersecurity and more.

Whether accurate or not, Musk’s claim that Apple is “threatening to ban” Twitter from the App Store may resonate with other developers.

Apple is notorious for providing few details when informing app makers that their apps are at risk of receiving delayed updates or being removed from the App Store. Responses on Apple’s App Store Connect platform are brief, usually referencing the rule but not explaining specifically what the app maker needs to do to fix the problem — for example, Apple might say the app has a “metadata issue” or that it’s using banned software. programming interface.

Musk is also concerned about Apple’s platform fees, which account for 15% to 30% of total digital sales, such as the $8 Twitter Blue subscription, which Musk said could be a key product for the company. Before taking over Twitter, Musk said it was a “de facto global tax” on the internet, but in his new role as the app owner, he has attacked it with increased vigor.

This week, he tweeted and deleted a meme saying he’d rather “go to war” than pay Apple 30%.

Apple declined to comment on the alleged suspension threat or Apple’s advertising spending with Twitter earlier this week.

A long history of competition

Tesla and Apple are neighbors in the San Francisco Bay Area, which means they’ve been competing for talent for more than a decade. Now that rivalry 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 the development of its own electric autonomous vehicle technology. If the so-called “Apple Car” were to hit the market, Tesla and Apple would be direct competitors.

In this context, the first examples of Musk’s regulation of Apple can be seen as friendly competition.

When Tesla was still weak and just starting out, Musk called Apple “Tesla graveyard,” according to multiple former Tesla employees who spoke to CNBC. Internally, he would encourage unhappy Tesla employees to apply for a cushy job at Apple.

He finally said in a public interview that Apple hired people fired from Tesla.

Dozens of ex-Tesla employees landed at Apple in 2018, including layoffs and those who jumped ship from Tesla. At the time, the EV maker’s North American PR team told CNBC: “Tesla is a tough road. We have 100 times less money than Apple, so of course they can pay more.”

One of the most notable people to switch sides was Doug Field, who started at Apple, joined Tesla, and then rejoined Apple. Now he works for Ford, a more direct Tesla competitor.

Last summer, Musk revealed some of his problems with Apple’s business during an earnings call with Tesla, 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 batteries in its devices. In 2018, Musk promised to completely eliminate the use of cobalt in the production of Tesla. Tesla has switched a significant number of its cars to a type of battery called an LFP, or lithium iron phosphate battery. However, it has not yet completely eliminated the need for cobalt.

In its most recent Impact Statement, Tesla wrote that “we definitely expect our demand for cobalt to increase in the coming years, as the rate of growth in our vehicle and cell production is projected to outpace the overall rate of cobalt depletion on a per-cell basis.”

On the charging front, Tesla is experimenting with ways to give other EV drivers access to its network. However, the company is yet to open charging on a general basis.

Later in the earnings call, Musk criticized Apple’s “walled garden” business model when asked about when Tesla chargers could charge other car brands.

“I think we want to emphasize that our goal is to support the emergence of sustainable energy,” Musk said. “It’s not about creating a walled garden and using it to beat our competitors, which some companies do.”

In case anyone missed the reference to Apple’s App Store, which Apple provides as an exclusive way to distribute apps to its devices, Musk faked a cough and said “Apple.”

Musk also used Apple’s name to generate buzz. In September, Apple time announced satellite connection in the new iPhone 14 models (the satellites are managed by GlobalStar) Musk suggested that Apple is considering using Starlink, which uses different technologies.

“We’ve had some promising conversations with Apple about Starlink connectivity,” Musk tweeted, complimenting the iPhone team. Apple has never acknowledged talks or even discussions with SpaceX.

Chef and Musk

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