OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has always had a thing for the letter “X,” having used it several times over the course of his professional life.
For instance, he calls his son with singer Grimes “X,” though is actually name is a collection of letters. He named his space company SpaceX, and the company he formed to buy Twitter was called “X Holdings. And now, according to The Associated Press, he plans to develop an “everything app” for Twitter that he is now just calling X.
The report continues: For months, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO has expressed interest in creating his own version of China’s WeChat — a “super app” that does video chats, messaging, streaming and payments — for the rest of the world. At least, that is, once he’s done buying Twitter after months of legal infighting over the $44 billion purchase agreement he signed in April.
There are just a few obstacles. First is that a Musk-owned Twitter wouldn’t be the only global company in pursuit of this goal, and in fact would probably be playing catch-up with its rivals. Next is the question of whether anyone really wants a Twitter-based everything app— or any other super app — to begin with.
Several other major platforms have also toyed with becoming an ‘everything’ destination for users. For instance, Meta, which is the parent company of Facebook, has spent years attempting to make the primary platform an online destination multifaceted, adding games, shopping, payments, and even dating features. But the company has not had much success as nearly all revenue comes from advertising, the AP reported.
Other platforms have tried similar things, including TikTok, Uber, Google, and Snap, the newswire continued, to develop a “super app” in order to become more vital to more people throughout their day. But so far, none of them have really caught on with the public because there are already several other apps that they use to handle various things such as communication, making payments, and shopping.
“Old habits are hard to break, and people in the U.S. are used to using different apps for different activities,” said Jasmine Enberg, principal analyst at Insider Intelligence, adding that super apps likely will vacuum up more personal data when people are becoming acutely concerned about their privacy with trust in online platforms plummeting.
Musk made reference to a super app earlier this month after restarting his bid to purchase Twitter. “Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app,” he wrote on the platform without elaborating further.
However, he has dropped some hints in the recent past. At a Tesla shareholders meeting in Austin, Texas, during an August visit to a plant there, he told the crowd he’s “got a good sense of where to point the engineering team with Twitter to make it radically better.”
“And he’s dropped some strong hints that handling payments for goods and services would be a key part of the app. Musk said he has a ‘grander vision’ for what X.com, an online bank he started early in his career that eventually became part of PayPal, could have been,” The AP added.
Federal agencies are reportedly investigating Musk over his bid to purchase Twitter, according to legal filings by attorneys representing the company, reports noted last week.
According to reports, it isn’t clear what federal authorities are investigating. But one report also noted that Twitter is seeking documents related to the probes, though it isn’t clear what is being sought, specifically. The request for documents was filed after Musk said he would buy the platform, the Washington Examiner reported.
“Elon Musk is presently under investigation by federal authorities for his conduct in connection with the acquisition of Twitter,” Twitter’s legal team said in an Oct. 6 legal filing with a Delaware court, according to Bloomberg. In addition, Twitter lawyers asked that Musk’s team also provide the same documents because they “bear upon key issues in this litigation.”