Elon Musk says Apple has imposed a ‘global tax on the internet’

Elon Musk says Apple has imposed a ‘global tax on the internet’
Apple’s App Store fees are akin to a “global tax on the internet,” according to Tesla boss Elon Musk.

Apple’s App Store fees are akin to a “global tax on the internet,” according to Tesla boss Elon Musk.

Mr Musk suggested that he backs Fortnite developer Epic in the ongoing feud between the two companies over the fees they take from App Store purchases.

“Apple app store fees are a de facto global tax on the Internet,” Mr Musk wrote in the tweet. “Epic is right.”

Apple and Epic – as well as some other developers – have been locked in a public feud for more than a year over the App Store rules. Epic argues that they are anticompetitive and should be forced to change, and has brought a number of legal actions in an attempt to force it to do so.

Under the current rules, Apple takes a 30 per cent cut of sales of apps in its App Store, and passes the rest to developers. Apple also takes a 30 per cent cut from the sale of electronic goods and services through the store, as well as subscriptions – and requires that iPhone and iPad apps use only its own payment services, so that there is no way to circumvent that cut.

The current dispute came to a head last year, when Epic introduced its own payment system into Fortnite for buying in-game currency. Fortnite was swiftly removed from the App Store and arguments between Apple, Epic, regulators and other developers have been ongoing since.

Mr Musk’s remarks came shortly after another series of tweets relating to Apple. He posted to deny a story that had suggested chief executive Tim Cook had sworn at him during negotiations over a possible buyout of Tesla.

A review of a new book called Power Play, focusing on Tesla and Elon Musk, reported that a story that Mr Cook had called Mr Musk to suggest that Apple buy Tesla. Mr Musk supposedly said that he would only support a deal if he was installed as chief executive of Apple – which led Mr Cook to say “f*** you” and hang up the phone, according to the report.

But Mr Musk said that the two chief executives have never actually spoken. That echoed a remark by Mr Cook recently, in which he said he had never spoken to Mr Musk.

“Cook & I have never spoken or written to each other ever,” Mr Musk wrote in a tweet.

“There was a point where I requested to meet with Cook to talk about Apple buying Tesla. There were no conditions of acquisition proposed whatsoever. He refused to meet.

“Tesla was worth about 6% of today’s value.”

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