Technology

Twitter Blue to cost more on iPhones to cover ‘hidden 30% tax’

The U.S. government is still looking into Elon Musk's $44 billion acquisition of Twitter.

A recent story from The Information claims that Twitter Blue could relaunch with two different subscription prices. Twitter’s premium membership might cost $11 per month if purchased through the iOS app or $7 less if paid for on the website. This discrepancy in pricing is an effort to avoid the 30% commission that Apple requires on many in-app purchases.

Beginning in early November, premium subscribers could only access the service through the iOS platform, initially priced at $7.99 per month (with no option to subscribe via other platforms like Android or the web). Many users took advantage of its most prominent feature—the ability to gain Twitter’s coveted blue verified checkmark—to spoof a wide range of businesses and personalities, prompting the company to halt the service deployment rapidly.

The news of the two-tiered pricing structure comes after Elon Musk, Twitter’s new CEO, publicly criticised Apple’s “hidden 30 per cent tax,” claiming that the company had largely stopped advertising on Twitter and was threatening Twitter’s presence in the app store or otherwise making moderation demands. However, after meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook, Musk backtracked on some of his statements, calling them a “misunderstanding.”

There is no way around Apple’s anti-steering laws, which limit how apps can direct users to their website to sign up for paid services, and Twitter must still abide by these. While Apple has recently eased some of its anti-steering limitations, its rules continue to cause friction for app makers unwilling to pay the iPhone maker’s commission.

Regarding Twitter Blue on Android, where Google can take up to a 30% cut of in-app sales, the report from The Information is silent on pricing.

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