Murmurs of a Tesla phone are nothing new in speculative tech circles, but Elon Musk’s $A66 billion takeover of Twitter might have brought it closer to reality – albeit reluctantly.
The controversy surrounding Musk’s Twitter takeover has prompted concerns Apple and Google – the world’s two main app hosts – could dump the social media platform’s app from their stores.
Amid the speculation, Musk recently confirmed his response.
“I certainly hope it does not come to that, but, yes, if there is no other choice, I will make an alternative phone,” he said on Saturday morning.
Yoel Roth, former head of Twitter’s Trust and Safety team who left the company of his own volition in early November, recently said keeping Apple and Google app stores happy was a significant check and balance on Twitter.
He said Apple and Google phone and tablet app stores, which have community guidelines of their own, also pose a massive risk to Twitter’s bottom line.
Roth warned violations risked expulsion from the app stores, which would prove “catastrophic”.
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“There is one more source of power on the web — one that most people don’t think much about but may be the most significant check on unrestrained speech on the mainstream internet: the app stores operated by Google and Apple,” he said.
“Failure to adhere to Apple’s and Google’s guidelines would be catastrophic, risking Twitter’s expulsion from their app stores and making it more difficult for billions of potential users to get Twitter’s services.”
He said Twitter was notoriously cagey about how its users accessed the platform but suggested app usage was a significant portion.
“This gives Apple and Google enormous power to shape the decisions Twitter makes,” Roth said.
Musk has made his own shots at Apple and Google, criticising the “duopoly” last week.
“App store fees are obviously too high due to the iOS/Android duopoly,” he said.
“It is a hidden 30 per cent tax on the internet.”
It has been rumoured this year that Tesla, one of Musk’s multi-billion dollar flagship ventures, was planning to release a “Pi Phone”.
While never confirmed, it was speculated Musk’s phone would be a market competitor with Apple’s iPhone and Samsung Galaxy smartphone ranges.
But it would appear Musk is well placed for such a business move with significant manufacturing capacity, tech capital and his own internet capability.
Musk announced SpaceX’s Starlink internet network had formed a partnership with US telco T-Mobile in August.