Musk hints that a Tesla phone could be made to punish Apple and Google
You might be wondering how Elon Musk got where he is today based on his uneven performance as Twitter's new owner. His confusing and illogical changes to the verification checkmarks and his inability to make a decision and stick to it without changing his mind a few times does not inspire confidence in the guy as someone who can run a company like Twitter.
Musk's tweet today threatens Apple and Google should Twitter get removed from the App Store and the Play Store
And when former T-Mobile president and CEO John Legere said that he would be interested in working his magic on Twitter (albeit at a superstar executive salary of course), Musk flat-out rejected him without even hearing him out. Considering what Legere did for T-Mobile, taking it from its position as last among the four major wireless providers to second, the guy should get at least a personal meeting. After all, he does have a stunning track record and helped T-Mobile become the most innovative company in the industry.
Musk threatens to produce a Tesla phone if Twitter is bounced from the App Store and Play Store
The latest news involving Musk and Twitter is that the multi-billionaire has posted a tweet in which he says that should Apple and Google bounce Twitter from their respective app storefronts, Musk will make what he calls an "alternative phone."
Let's run through the whole thing. A tweet from conservative commentator Liz Wheeler said, "If Apple & Google boot Twitter from their app stores, @elonmusk should produce his own smartphone. Half the country would happily ditch the biased, snooping iPhone & Android. The man builds rockets to Mars, a silly little smartphone should be easy, right?" Elon responded by writing, "I certainly hope it does not come to that, but, yes, if there is no other choice, I will make an alternative phone."
This reminds us of another billionaire who thought that building a competitive smartphone might be right up his alley. Jeff Bezos and Amazon released the Fire Phone in June 2014. This phone was a flop, to put it mildly, as reportedly only 26,000 units were sold.
But we digress. Right now there are no signs that Apple or Google is considering the removal of Twitter from the App Store and Google Play Store, respectively. But you never know when something Musk does will go afoul of App Store and Play Store rules. If Google were to banish Twitter from the Android app storefront, Twitter could always end up in a third-party app store like Amazon's where it could be sideloaded by Android users.
Building an alternative phone is not going to be easy
Sideloading an app on Android means downloading it from an app store other than the Play Store. Losing the App Store wouldn't even be a blow even if sideloading is not an option on iOS. That's because without an Android or iOS app, Twitter still would be accessible through the mobile browser on iPhone and Android handsets; in other words, the lack of a native iOS and/or Android app would not spell the end for Twitter.
We'd imagine that if a Tesla phone is developed, Musk would create a mobile/wireless business unit for Tesla. But Elon is going to have to be careful how he approaches such a project. Keep in mind that his holdings in Tesla stock have cratered by 54% so far this year. Tesla stockholders might not take too kindly to Elon using Tesla's cash and name to prop up Twitter which is one of Musk's personal holdings.
Again, this is all conjecture at this point, especially since Twitter remains a listing in good standing in the App Store and the Play Store. Unless development plans for an alternative phone have already started, the process of building a new smartphone using a brand-new platform will take several years. So hopefully Mr. Musk doesn't expect to snap his fingers and see a new phone instantly become an iOS and Android competitor.