Elon Musk has a predilection for the letter “X”. He calls “X” the son he had with singer Grimes, whose real name is a set of letters and symbols. He called the company he created to buy Twitter “X Holdings.” His rocket company is, naturally, SpaceX.
And now, it seems, it also intends to transform Twitter into an “app for everything” that it calls X.
For months now, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX has expressed interest in creating his own version of China’s WeChat — a “super app” where video chats, messaging, streaming and payments can be made — for the rest of the world. Sure, that’s once he’s finished buying Twitter after months of legal battles over the $44 billion takeover deal he signed in April.
There are just some obstacles. The first is that a Musk-owned Twitter would not be the only global company pursuing this goal, and in fact would likely have to catch up with rivals already making inroads there. Next up is the question of whether anyone really wants a Twitter-based do-it-all app—or any other super app—in the first place.
Start with competition and consumer demand. Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has been trying for years to make its flagship platform a destination for everything on the internet, adding payment functions, games, shopping and even dating. So far, it has had little success; almost all of their income still comes from advertising.
Google, Snap, TikTok, Uber and other companies have also tried to jump on the super-app bandwagon, expanding their offerings in a bid to make themselves indispensable to people in their everyday lives. Until now, none of them has managed to prevail, among other things because people already have various applications at their disposal to buy, communicate and pay.
“Old habits are hard to break, and people in the US are used to using different apps for different activities,” says Jasmine Enberg, principal analyst at Insider Intelligence. Enberg also points out that super apps are likely to absorb more personal data at a time when trust in social platforms has deteriorated considerably.
Associated Press writer Joe McDonald contributed to this report.
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Musk plans to turn Twitter into a “super app”