After new Twitter Inc. owner Elon Musk said this week that Apple Inc. was threatening to remove Twitter from the App Store, a group of GOP lawmakers came to his aid and warned that Apple had gone too far.
On Monday, Musk took to Twitter to inform people that Apple had threatened to “withhold” Twitter from the App Store, an accusation, if true, that fits nicely into the soap opera that has been entertaining much of the world since Musk bought Twitter. Thousands of people later defended Musk on Twitter, saying if Apple did such a thing, they would throw their Apple products aside and not buy anything else from the company.
It seems the spat is over free speech, with Musk accusing Apple chief executive Tim Cook of not being a proponent of it. “Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter,” Musk said on Monday. “Do they hate free speech in America?” After that, a good number of people accused Musk of being toxic, while others defended him. “This is why I’ll never own an iPhone or any Apple product,” tweeted one person. “I won’t even eat apples because it reminds me of them.”
Unsurprisingly, America is divided again, with partisan Musk fans screaming that the left is totalitarian and partisan anti-Musk folks believing Musk is the devil incarnate and his ownership of Twitter is a road to hell. Earlier in the month, Cook had indeed aired some amount of concern about the new Twitter under Musk, but it was hardly a duel from men the public seems to think are the last bastions of techno-rectitude.
Musk has criticized Apple in the past for Apple’s take on in-app purchases in the App Store, something he has called the “hidden 30% tax” on the Internet. Apple has in the past said it wants to create a “safe experience” for people who use the apps in its App Store, which could be the reason why Apple was thinking of pulling Twitter from the store.
Musk recently said that the battle between him and Cook is now “a revolution against online censorship in America.” This is why Republican lawmakers have joined in the fight, accusing Apple of throwing its weight around. “This is why we need to end the App Store duopoly before the end of this year,” tweeted Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado. “No one should have this kind of market power.”
Sen. Mike Lee of Utah also came to Musk’s aid, tweeting, “This is unacceptable, and makes the case for the Open App Markets Act.” Then came the comment from Sen. Marsha Blackburn, who said, “Apple and Google currently have a stranglehold on companies and have used their leverage to bully businesses.”
The triumvirate may come from the Republican side. Still, in the recent past, many congressional Democrats have also stated that it’s time to rein in the monopolies of Big Tech in America. Who knows how Apple Vs. Twitter will play out, but it’s likely the flames will soon calm down even if the embers burn underneath.