Overpaying was easy; will it pay in long run remains to be seen

Musk’s biggest bet borrows from China’s greatest hits of the 2010s. “Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app,” Musk tweeted earlier this month.
Elon Musk
Elon MuskReuters

SAN FRANCISCO: Overspending on Twitter Inc for $44 billion was the easy part. Now, Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk must prove why he believes that Twitter is worth 10 times that amount and turn around a social media platform that he has spent months ridiculing.

Earlier this month, the outspoken billionaire said: “Myself and the other investors are obviously overpaying for Twitter right now. The long term potential for Twitter in my view is an order of magnitude greater than its current value.” Musk has provided few concrete details about his plans, and what he has shared appears far-fetched or contradictory.

Elon Musk
Top Twitter execs to take home $88 mn, Parag richer by $38.7 mn

Here is what lies ahead for Musk, the self-proclaimed “Chief Twit”, according to current and former Twitter employees, analysts and investors who considered funding the deal.

Musk’s biggest bet borrows from China’s greatest hits of the 2010s. “Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app,” Musk tweeted earlier this month.

The idea of an everything app, also referred to as a super app, originated in Asia with companies like WeChat, which lets users not only send messages but also make payments, shop online or hail a taxi. The all-in-one service appealed to users who had fewer choices in a region where Google, Facebook and others were blocked.

Musk has told investors he plans to build one that will sell premium subscriptions to reduce reliance on ads, allow content creators to make money and enable payments, according to a source briefed on the matter.

Elon Musk
Musk doesn’t seek a “free-for-all hellscape” for Twitter

There are no super-apps in the US because the barrier is high and there are app choices aplenty, said Scott Galloway, co-host of tech podcast Pivot and a professor of marketing at New York University.

Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google, which control the app stores on iPhones and Android phones, see themselves as super apps and would be unlikely to allow other super apps to develop, Galloway said. Consider Apple’s recent rejection of Spotify’s plan to sell audiobooks as one example of barriers to entry.

Adding payments, which generally require identity verification, could complicate a service which has allowed anonymity to flourish, making Twitter a powerful tool for political activism in hostile environments, said Jason Goldman, a former Twitter board member.

“It’s not possible at this point in the evolution of the mobile internet,” Goldman added.

Elon Musk
Timeline of billionaire Elon Musk’s bid to control Twitter

‘Let the good times roll’: Elon Musk tweets

“Let the good times roll’’, billionaire Elon Musk tweeted on Friday, hours after he completed his acquisition of Twitter for a whopping $44 billion and started off as the social media giant’s new owner by firing its top executives, including CEO Parag Agrawal.

‘The bird is freed,’’ Musk had tweeted on Friday after completing the takeover of Twitter and firing the social media giant’s four top executives, including Agrawal, legal executive Vijaya Gadde, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal and General Counsel Sean Edgett.

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