Let me catch you up: After buying Twitter and appointing himself CEO, Elon Musk made controversial changes to the site and its rules. He aims to make Twitter a place where his ideas of free speech can be allowed, which ultimately resulted in providing “amnestyto previously banned accounts of white supremacists, conspiracy theorists, and others who violated Twitter’s old terms of service.
Musk claimed in a recent tweet that Apple had “threatened to remove Twitter from its App Store,” but didn’t tell him why. The Twitter CEO also claims that Apple has “mostly stopped advertising” on the site, but also can’t figure out why. Apparently, the richest man in the world is unable to understand why a company like Apple would want to move away from the gasoline he dumps on Twitter.
Responding to a Tweet from podcaster Liz Wheeler, Musk said if Apple and Google remove Twitter from their app stores, it… would make an “alternative phone”. The comments under his Tweet abound, telling him that would be a great idea.
That would be true if, by “good idea,” commentators meant complete disaster on just about every front. According to Wheeler, “man builds rockets to Mars” (he, in particular, doesn’t), so “a dumb little smartphone should be easy, right?” Bad.
A misunderstanding of the market
Elon Musk seems to think Apple and Google have a ‘duopoly’ in the smartphone market. Although the two companies control much of the industry, they are far from the only big companies making successful smartphones. Samsung, Tecno, Huawei, Motorola, Oppo, OnePlus and more make some of the most popular devices in the world. However, they just haven’t taken hold in the US and Europe (with the exception of Samsung) like Apple and Google have. In Asia and Africa, however, it’s a whole different story.
In principle, Musk comes from a place of misunderstanding that he is only partially informed about the smartphone industry, a place from which he seems rather comfortable. Simply put, Elon Musk’s potential future smartphone wouldn’t just need to compete with Apple and Google. Instead, it should compete with a global market full of excellent devices made by already established companies that are constantly innovating in the space.
Based on his disappointing success in many of the businesses he owns – like internal reports of Twitter’s potential impending bankruptcy, the Boring Company’s general lack of results, and the ludicrous implant surgery proposal of 10 million dollars from Neuralink – there’s no real precedent that a phone made by a company owned by Musk would be successful. Obviously, Tesla’s success is the exception to this, but Tesla seems to operate best outside of Musk’s influence. Musk often overpromises with all of his companies, Tesla included, which generally gives the company a bad image and feels like it’s at the whim of a child spitting out ideas all the time.
Musk’s only bright spot is that Apple and Google have some sort of bottleneck in the app store market on iOS and Android. If they were to remove Twitter from their platforms, the app would likely die quickly, as most users would jump to the plethora of other social media apps on the stores.
If that happened, Musk would get a company to start working on a “smartphone alternative” that boasted Twitter as a major feature. At this point, however, Twitter would be completely dead in the water – save for its browser users made up of stubborn Elon Musk fans – so it would hardly be a selling point that would reach a general audience that is already moved on to new applications.
On top of all that, the Elon/Tesla phone would still have to compete with the rest of the smartphone market to be successful – and to make the multi-year, multi-million dollar process of making a new phone (complete with an all new operating system and an application store) it’s worth it. There have been plenty of smartphone companies that have presented themselves as alternative options to Apple and Google led by a single figurehead – like Carl Pei with Nothing – but these are still niche products that aren’t seriously in competition. in how they present themselves. at.
And that’s for a phone still running Android with access to the Play Store! Microsoft tried to chart its own course with Windows Phone years ago, but that project ultimately fell through after less than 10 years. If Microsoft couldn’t do it, what reason is there to think Musk could?
It would be a major financial ask for Musk to ask his fans to ditch their iPhones, Pixels and Galaxys to buy his new smartphone.
While Musk has an extraordinarily dedicated fan base, they certainly aren’t enough to sustain a newcomer to the mobile industry — and especially not one that rivals Apple and Google. Given how well-established the two companies are in the US market, it would be a major financial ask for Musk to ask his fans to ditch their iPhones, Pixels and Galaxys to buy his new smartphone. And one that could potentially ignite.
Elon Musk keeps making promises that sound good on paper to his fans. But these promises often never come true. He promised over 10 years ago that we would have humans walking on Mars at this point, which the last time I checked still hasn’t happened. Likewise, I wouldn’t be surprised if this legendary Tesla phone is more smoke and mirrors — and neither are you.
Currently, Musk seems a bit compelled to lose money with Twitter, so it seems unlikely that he will jump into the smartphone industry headfirst, even if Apple and Google were to pull him from their app stores. It seems that a much easier and cheaper solution would be to simply follow the companies’ app store rules regarding hate speech and adult content. But what do I know? I didn’t have to buy Twitter, Elon Musk did.
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