Can Elon Musk really make an “alternative smartphone” to counter Google and Apple?


While Twitter’s presence in the App Store and Play Store remains uncertain, Elon Musk has announced the possibility of creating his own smartphone, even if he does not want to come to that and knows that it would be technically difficult.

Launching an alternative smartphone to challenge Apple and Google? Elon Musk thinks about it. In question, the uncertain future of Twitter on the App Store and the Play Store, while tensions emerge between the new boss of the social network and the two groups, on the questions of moderation and remuneration. If Elon Musk does not want to get there – because he knows himself that it would be very complicated – the idea is far from being evacuated.

She appeared in a tweet on November 25, in response to a question posed by Liz Wheeler, an American podcaster. She asked Elon Musk if he could produce his own smartphone if Apple and Google removed Twitter from their application interface. Liz Wheeler even launched her own poll to ask users if they would use a “tELONphone”. Elon Musk replied, “I sure hope it doesn’t come to that, but, yeah, if there’s no other choice, I’ll make an alternative phone.”

But creating his own smartphone would require Elon Musk to embark on a business that is practically lost in advance. Because launching a new phone above all requires creating an entire ecosystem around it: an operating system, a dedicated application interface and a coherent ecosystem. Others before, have paid the price such as the Windows Phone, or the Fire Phone from Amazon. Huawei also suffered the full force of the ban on using the Play Store.

The technical challenge is major and, even if Musk never lacks enthusiasm, he is also a specialist in aborted promises, or failing that, postponed ad vitam æternam or almost.

Especially since the money will not be enough to develop a worthy competitor to Android or iOS, it will need talented engineers and its recent managerial policy may cause it some harm.

At this time, neither Apple nor Google have officially stated that they plan to remove Twitter from their application interface. But that could be the case if the two companies decide that the social network does not respect certain imposed rules. Elon Musk, claiming to be a “defender of freedom of expression”, could be blamed for having reactivated banned accounts like that of Donald Trumpbut also that of Jordan Peterson, a far-right provocateur, Babylon Bee, a conservative satirical organ, and even Kanye West, who had been banned for holding anti-semitic remarks.

Twitter is also experiencing identity theft and misinformation issues related to the Twitter Blue subscription, a certification available to everyone for 8 euros per month. From this sum, Apple and Google take 30% commission or 2.40 euros, which is not at all to Elon Musk’s taste.

Apps have already been removed from app stores like Parler, the far-right social network for violating Apple and Google’s policies prohibiting hate speech, before being reinstated after improving its moderation policies.

If Twitter were to be retired, the platform would continue to exist on the web. However, this would force users to go through their Internet browser to access the platform, which is not very practical for a social network.