apple users' blues

Elon Musk is making iPhone users pay for his fight with Apple

Twitter Blue's relaunch features different price bands

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Is Musk not decided on Twitter’s stance on Apple app fees yet?
Is Musk not decided on Twitter’s stance on Apple app fees yet?
Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

As Twitter Blue plans its relaunch, Apple users face a surcharge.

Starting today (Dec. 12), iOS users will have to dole out $11 for the controversial subscription service, which earns users a blue tick as well as the ability to edit tweets, upload 1080p videos, and more. Meanwhile, web and Android users can get a better deal at $8.

Although Twitter didn’t specify why Apple users are being treated differently, there’s a hint in the war Elon Musk has been waging against Apple’s “secret 30% tax.”

Musk has become increasingly vocal against the 30% fee the Cupertino company charges developers for in-app purchases, which companies such as video game developer Epic Games and music streaming service Spotify have been challenging for years.

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Musk also hinted that Apple may be yanking Twitter from the App Store, but he then confirmed that the misunderstanding was resolved after a meeting with CEO Tim Cook at the company’s Cupertino headquarters.

Neither Twitter nor Musk has given an explanation for the $3 price bump, but it is curiously close to a 30% increase, mirroring the Apple fee.

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One big number: Apple dominates ads on Twitter

$48 million: Apple’s ad spend on Twitter in the first quarter of 2022, accounting for more than 4% of total revenue for the period, making it the top advertiser on Twitter. At the end of November, Musk claimed Apple had “mostly stopped” its Twitter ads but on Dec. 4, the self-appointed chief twit said the iPhone-maker had“fully resumed” advertising on Twitter.

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What happens to existing blue ticks?

As paid users get blue ticks, Twitter will start replacing the “official” label with a gold checkmark for businesses, and a grey checkmark for “government and multilateral accounts.”

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The rollout isn’t going to be seamless. For one, there’s geographic bumps. Twitter Blue is launching in five countries for now, and will “rapidly expand” to others, according to Esther Crawford, director of product management at Twitter.

Take two for Twitter Blue

The first launch of Twitter Blue stirred up a storm with several users buying the checkmark to impersonate people and companies.

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A fake Eli Lilly’s tweet about free insulin caused the real pharma company Eli Lilly’s stock to plummet. The firm then halted ads on Twitter, costing the microblogging platform “millions,” according to the company’s spokesperson.

Musk’s own EV firm, Tesla, was impersonated by an account that took digs at Tesla cars catching fire, the government subsidies that made Musk rich, and more.

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This time around, the blue tick assignment includes a vetting system, Crawford said.

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