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Elon Musk Is Lying: What Is The 30% Apple Tax And Why It’s Not A Secret


Elon Musk is now feeling insecure about Apple kicking out Twitter from the App Store. The reason? Well, in short, Apple doesn’t allow apps that promote hate speech. And the fact that Musk virtually has no effective content moderation functioning on Twitter along with his plans to welcome all Twitter users who were banned earlier, may actually trigger Apple to ban Twitter.

Watch Video: Elon Musk Is Lying: What Is The 30% Apple Tax And Why It’s Not A Secret

Musk also claimed that Apple has “mostly stopped advertising on Twitter”. Note that this is all that Musk is claiming and Apple hasn’t even bothered to respond. Musk was quick to link advertisements to free speech and he tweeted, “Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter. Do they hate free speech in America?” Yes, according to Musk, not advertising on Twitter equals to hating free speech.

Within minutes he fired another tweet: “Did you know Apple puts a secret 30% tax on everything you buy through their App Store?” Now, this is where Musk is caught lying.

Musk conveniently decided to rewrite the truth. First, it’s not a tax. Second, it’s not a secret. Third, there’s no tax for end users. Of course, you must have read stories or watched videos about Apple Tax, Microsoft Tax and Google Tax. In fact, you can add Uber Tax, YouTube Tax, Swiggy Tax and so on to the list. It’s not tax, the actual word is commission. The next big fact is only those developers who earn US $1 million (Rs 8.16 crore) yearly or more are required to pay 30% of their earnings. For the rest, the fee is 15%.

It’s not just Apple. Google charges a similar commission for hosting Android apps on Play Store. The major difference is that Google allows users to side load Android apps or basically download apps from third-party sources while Apple doesn’t.

What is the 30% Apple Tax?

Don’t confuse this with some additional tax like sales tax, etc. This is simply a revenue-sharing business model. For example, if you open a YouTube channel, YouTube shows ads while playing your video on the mobile screens of the end-users. Now, this ad money gets divided– YouTube keeps 45% while the creator of the video gets 55% and the end user gets to watch the video for free. Similarly, for developers, they get to publish their apps on the Apple App Store so that iPhone, iPad or Mac users can discover and use their apps. Now, if the app is free, there is no commission or so-called tax. But if the developer charges for the app then he or she is required to pay 30% of the earnings to Apple if the total annual revenue is US $1 million (Rs 8.2 crore) or more. If the earnings are less than $1 million then 15% is charged.

This is not a secret and Apple has been very clear about this. In fact, every developer is aware of this. Remember, the end users are not expected to pay extra over and above the cost of the app. For example, the end user will not have to pay 30% plus $8 monthly for Twitter Blue. Musk will have to pay $2.4 from every $8 he makes from Twitter Blue to Apple if Twitter manages to cross the $1 million yearly bracket.

Elon Musk always knew about the 30% Apple Tax

Musk is now pretending that the ‘Apple Tax’ is a secret. Well, this app store commission debate has been published widely by the mainstream media for years. In fact, Musk in 2021 extended his support to Epic Games (Fortnite game creator) and tweeted in 2021 that “Epic is right,” and chose to comment against Apple. So, this is something he knew all the way but earlier it was all about hollow tweets. But now when has to pay up, he is offended and wants the world to fight for Twitter. Why? Because, Musk thinks Twitter’s survival is paramount to protect freedom of speech for which he expects people to pay $8 monthly to him. For the record, less than 1% of India’s population is on Twitter. And in the US, even the former president Donald Trump is reluctant to become active on Twitter despite Musk rolling out the red carpet.

Musk is the top influencer on Twitter, a social media platform that he overpaid to acquire it. He is now simply using his influence to increase engagement on Twitter by discovering new controversies everyday and tweeting them. And whatever Musk tweets, is portrayed as if he is the only person who is fighting for freedom of speech and the “battle for the future of our civilization.”

If you take him too seriously, like his army of social media followers, then you will somehow end up believing that Twitter is the most important thing in the world and that everybody should help Musk by paying $8 for Twitter Blue so that the ‘rocket man’ can protect freedom of speech worldwide.

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