Twitter again delayed the launch of its Twitter Blue subscription service—which allows users to pay $8 per month for a verified badge—in an effort to find a way to circumvent Apple’s 30% fee on all in-app purchases, the Platformer reported on Tuesday, as CEO Elon Musk engages in a public feud with the iPhone maker after it purportedly withdrew its advertising from the social media platform.
The Key Facts
The Platformer reports that Twitter won’t offer Blue subscriptions in-app on its Twitter iPhone app after it relaunches.
An internal message shared by a product manager on Tuesday said the launch has been delayed to “make some tweaks,” the report added.
Blue will see a price increase from $7.99 to $8, and it will require phone number authentication.
Musk was the first to realize this. intended to relaunch Twitter Blue—the rollout of which was suspended after it allowed the creation of a wave of impersonator accounts—on Tuesday, but this was delayed to a tentative date of December 2, last week.
With this latest delay, the date for Twitter Blue’s launch remains unclear.
Keep an eye out for these things
Twitter Blue is no longer an in-app buy and will therefore not have to pay Apple 30% for all subscriptions. This would likely mean the subscription will be accessible on Twitter’s website itself, opening the service to Twitter users on all platforms. Twitter Blue had been available exclusively to iPad or iPhone users prior to the suspension of its rollout. Apple’s App Store policies allow app makers to offer subscriptions and services outside the app. Apple has set strict guidelines for how apps should guide users in making external purchases. This has been criticized by other app developers.
Platformer also noted that Apple continues to lose ad revenue. Earnings from Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), are down 15% over the past year. Weekly ad bookings have fallen 49%. The company is reportedly anticipating a $12 million revenue loss from the U.K.—its largest market in the region. Several major brands have backed off from advertising on Twitter due to concerns about the platform’s failure to moderate hateful content.
The Key Background
Musk openedly feuded with Apple after Apple’s advertising ban was lifted on Monday. The loss of Apple’s advertising dollars is likely a big blow for Twitter as the company was the biggest advertiser on Twitter in the first quarter with a spend of $48 million, according to the Washington Post. Musk attacked Apple’s decision to pull its advertisements. accusing the company of “hating free speech.” The Twitter CEO eventually claimed that Apple had threatened to boot its app from the App Store and “won’t tell us why.” While Apple has not officially commented, Musk’s looser approach to moderation and his recent moves to reinstate several controversial accounts which were previously banned by the platform may run afoul of the iPhone maker’s app store policies. Apple requires all App makers to follow its stringent guidelines on content which require the removal of anything that is “offensive, insensitive, upsetting, intended to disgust, in exceptionally poor taste or just plain creepy.” Apple’s strict rules had previously led to right-wing Twitter-clone, Parler, being kicked off the App Store for failing to moderate “dangerous and harmful content.”
After Musk’s claims about Apple’s threat, several top Republican leaders criticized the iPhone maker and warned it could face Congressional action if it removed Twitter from its App Store. Florida Governor Ron Desantis said removing Twitter would be a “huge, huge mistake and a really raw exercise of monopolistic power,” and would invite a congressional response. DeSantis then speculated that Apple’s purported threat was due to Musk’s decision to reinstate accounts that were “unfairly and illegally suspended for putting out accurate information about Covid.” Since last week, Twitter has stopped enforcing its policy on harmful misinformation about Covid-19.
Apple engaged in high-profile legal battle against Epic video games publisher Epic last year. Epic had removed Fortnite from the App Store because it tried to bypass its rules regarding in-app payments. Federal Judge ruled in September that Apple had to provide app creators with an alternate way of making in-app payment than the company’s own, which costs 30% from developers. The court, however, also ruled that Apple was not “an antitrust monopolist in the submarket for mobile gaming transactions.”
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