Elon Musk has announced his intention to speak with Apple CEO Tim Cook about the company’s 30 percent commission on in-app purchases, commonly referred to as the “Apple tax.” The issue was raised to Musk based on the massive slice of Twitter content creators’ revenue claimed by Apple.
The Verge reports that in a move that could signal a significant shift in the tech industry’s relationship with Apple, Elon Musk has publicly stated his plans to discuss the company’s 30 percent commission on in-app purchases with CEO Tim Cook. This announcement comes alongside changes to Twitter’s revenue model, which Musk also detailed. Musk’s problem with the 30 percent Apple Tax is that it impacts the earnings of content creators who can now earn money on the site through paid subscriptions, which Apple considers in-app purchases.
In a post on Wednesday, he said he “will speak with @tim_cook” to see if the Apple CEO would adjust the 30 percent commission the company takes on in-app purchases. He further elaborated that he wants to change this so that Apple only takes a 30 percent commission on the portion of the payout kept by Twitter.
The billionaire’s proposed changes to the commission structure would significantly alter the way Apple profits from in-app purchases, including subscriptions sold by creators through platforms like Twitter. Under Musk’s proposal, Apple’s 30 percent cut would only apply to the portion of the payout kept by Twitter.
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In addition to his comments on Apple’s commission, Musk also announced changes to Twitter’s own revenue model. Musk claims that Twitter will only take 10 percent of subscription revenue if rewards reach $100,000, as opposed to taking 10 percent of subscription revenue from creators after 12 months. Twitter will continue to not charge anything for the first 12 months under this new scheme.
Musk’s relationship with Apple has been complex. Last year, he likened Apple’s fees to a “hidden 30 percent tax on the Internet” and delayed the rollout of Twitter Blue on iOS to avoid paying Apple’s fees. He also mentioned a previous incident where Apple had threatened to “withhold” Twitter from the App Store, which he later described as a misunderstanding after visiting Apple’s HQ.
Apple’s 30 percent commission has been a contentious issue in the tech industry, with some likening it to a tax. The company has faced legal challenges and has at times carved out exemptions for apps like Netflix, Spotify, and Fortnite maker Epic Games.