Tensions between Musk’s Twitter and Apple are on the rise. The crux of the tension stems from Apple’s 30% commission on in-app purchases and the power it wields over apps in its App Store. 

Similarly, when Spotify announced it would start to sell audiobooks this September, it tried to avoid Apple’s cut on in-app purchases and instead direct customers to pay for the audiobooks on its website.  Its attempted workarounds included an in-app button that generated an email that directed listeners to buy the book on the web. Another version generated an email simply providing more info on the book. After Apple rejected those versions, Spotify capitulated. Its app currently tells people they can’t buy audiobooks through the app, leaving them to figure out themselves that they need to navigate to the website. Spotify wasn’t quiet about the dispute, however, putting executives in front of reporters to air its grievances.

Musk has made it clear he wants to grow the company’s subscription business, he’ll have to make the same choice. In the past, Twitter has allowed in-app purchases and paid the fee. On Monday, Musk tweeted that Apple has “mostly” stopped advertising on the social network, and posed the question: “Do they hate free speech in America?” Earlier this month, he tweeted about app store fees being “obviously too high due to the iOS/Android duopoly,” referring to Apple and Google, which also takes a similar cut of in-app purchases. 

Furthermore, Musk also tweeted a poll on Monday asking users to respond yes or no to the prompt: “Apple should publish all censorship actions it has taken that affect its customers”. He also shared a meme about “going to war” rather than paying the 30% fee. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Information.

Whether his tweets are likely to sway Apple, it’s unlikely. While Apple did make a few concessions to developers last year—including allowing apps like Spotify and Netflix it considers “reader apps” to provide users in-app links to manage their accounts. But lately, Apple seems to have dug in its heels, as the recent Spotify fight showed. The true likelihood is that despite tensions, Twitter will keep paying in-app fees rather than take the chance users will not figure out how to pay for subscriptions on Twitter.com. Musk hates the status quo—but that indeed is where he may end up.   

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