Paid Twitter: Elon Musk plans to charge more iPhone users

When relaunched, the Twitter Blue subscription should finally cost $7 a month, while Elon Musk has long mentioned the price of $8. In order to circumvent the Apple tax, the head of Twitter would have made the decision to market it at 11 dollars in the App Store anyway.

Although Tim Cook managed the feat of appeasing Elon Musk in his desire to wage war against Apple, his arguments were not sufficient to convince Twitter’s new boss to pay the “apple tax”, a 30% tax on all sales made from an application accessible in the App Store. If Elon Musk no longer intends, a priori, to attack Apple to put an end to what he considers an injustice (he had described Apple’s policy as a “tax on the web”), the billionaire does not count sharing any recipe with Apple. According to The Information, Elon Musk decided to make iPhone owners pay more for the Twitter Blue subscription so he wouldn’t suffer from Apple’s 30% collection.

$7 or $11, the choice is yours

Since he took over Twitter at the end of October, Elon Musk has put a lot of effort into switching to a semi-paid model to make Twitter less dependent on advertising. The Twitter Blue subscription, which once provided preview features (like editing tweets), quickly expanded with new features (certified badge, better highlighting with the algorithm, etc.). Unfortunately for Elon Musk, his plan didn’t go as planned. The Twitter Blue plan allowed pranksters to impersonate personalities or brands, causing a lot of damage. Several major advertisers left Twitter, and Elon Musk had to suspend his Twitter Blue program. Since then, he promises every week that he will relaunch it in the next few days … but his promise is pushed back every time.

The certified badge on Twitter. // Source: Numerama edit

After considering for a while to offer his subscription at a price of 20 dollars a month, Elon Musk had bet on the 8 dollar option (which we imagined would be 8 euros in France). However, the setbacks at the launch would have convinced him to lower the prices. The information reports that Twitter Blue will be relaunched at $7 per month once Elon Musk gives the go-ahead (the billionaire is also expected to reintroduce identity verification and change the badge system).

Since the launch of the first Twitter Blue plan in June 2021, Twitter has always reserved the feature for North American iPhone owners (the only payment method offered is the App Store, which is pretty awesome). Under Elon Musk, Twitter opens Blue. It should be possible to subscribe to it in two different ways:

  • On Twitter.com, for $7 a month: we imagine that Twitter will develop a payment engine so that we can pay in different ways. Given Elon Musk’s history, it seems likely that options like PayPal (or even cryptocurrencies) will be offered.
  • From the app, for $11 per month: payment on the App Store should not be removed, but it will be up to the user to pay the “apple tax”. In this configuration, Twitter would make $7.7, while Apple would pocket the rest.

What about the Android app? It’s not mentioned, but it’s hard to imagine Elon Musk depriving himself of this market. Since Google also takes 30%, it is likely that the rate set by Twitter is also $11. Another option: don’t bother to develop an in-app purchase on Android and force owners of a Samsung, a Pixel, an Oppo or a Xiaomi to go to Twitter.com.

By comparison, charging iPhone owners more would be nothing new. Before Twitter, several developers have already raised the prices of their iPhone subscriptions to encourage their customers to switch to their website (Spotify comes to mind in particular).

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