Apple, Amazon, eBay, Uber, Spotify, PayPal, Venmo, Meta, Electronic Arts, and Nintendo are just a sampling of the companies Elon Musk may soon be competing with.
Twitter’s rebranding to «X» is more than just a name change. Musk has heralded the move as the biggest step yet in transforming what was once a humble microblogging app into a «everything app.” He has shared snippets of his vision for this app dating back to his initial acquisition of the company, pointing to China’s WeChat app as something of an inspiration.
«You basically live on WeChat in China because it’s so useful and useful for everyday life, and I think if we can achieve that, or even come close to that on Twitter, it would be a great success,» Musk said in June 2022 during his first meeting with Twitter employees.
It’s a view echoed by CEO Linda Yaccarino on Sunday.
“X is the future state of unlimited interactivity, focused on audio, video, messaging, payments/banking, creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services and opportunities,” Yaccarino, who previously led ad sales at NBCUniversal, wrote in a post on X. NBCUniversal is the parent company of NBC News.
Building an everything app comes with a host of challenges, ranging from fierce competition from well-resourced rivals and upstarts to regulatory barriers and consumer preferences.
«Given that we already have these apps that already have millions of users and a reasonable amount of engagement, what’s that one new thing that Twitter is going to offer us that we’re not going to get from all these other apps that we have?» saying anjana susarlaprofessor of artificial intelligence responsible at Michigan State University.
Everything apps, as Musk likes to call them, are popular in Asia. In China, WeChat integrates instant messaging, social networking, and payment services into a single application. Other super apps like Grab in Singapore and Gojek in Indonesia they have also been successful in Asian markets. While super apps are ubiquitous in Asia, the model has yet to gain a foothold in the US and European markets. according to CB Insights, a company that analyzes trends in the technology industry.
Perhaps the biggest challenge is turning Twitter into a financial powerhouse, something Musk has mentioned many times.
Davidson Oturu, a management consultant to fintech startups, said X would lag behind Apple’s established financial services such as Apple Pay and Apple Pay Later.
«Being able to get people to leave Apple and the ecosystem it’s created to come to Twitter, to do banking and financial transactions, is going to be difficult,» he said. “Fintechs find it difficult to move customers who have been banking for a long time onto their platforms. So it’s really going to be pretty hard to get people to switch brands.»
Musk’s Everything app would also face tougher data privacy regulations in the United States and Europe. according to a Deloitte report on Western super apps. Oturu said that China has a “very opaque system around data privacy rules. You can’t compare that to the United States and parts of the Western world.»
He added that consumers might also be wary of such an app.
“If I’m going to use X and want to have it as an all-in-one app where I bank, shop, chat, buy products and services, I’m going to share a lot of data on that platform. I don’t know how comfortable people will be putting all that data into one app of everything,” Oturu added.
Musk’s moves toward an all-app come as the company continues to struggle. Twitter’s ad revenue, its main source of income, fell by nearly 50%, said earlier this month.
Oturu noted that Musk’s experience with PayPalwhich was formed after a merger between Musk’s online bank X.com and software company Confinity, it could be «a moot point» that it could incorporate payment features into the microblogging site.
Susarla said that X’s existing user base was its only potential for the transition to a super app.
“There is already a broad set of people who use Twitter or X,” he said. “And I think they will continue to use it.”