As is well known, Elon Musk wants to convert Twitter – sorry, X – into an all-purpose app based on the model of the Chinese WeChat. So to the digital universal tool including social media, payment function, news, gaming, shopping, dating, etcetera. The renaming to X (as an open variable for all sorts of things) is only logical. It should now be very entertaining to see how Musk wants to tangle with (or dismantle) the rocked-out “Xitter” feature by feature with his characteristic curvilinearity.
When assessing Musk’s plans, I always have two concerns: that I might overestimate him and that I might underestimate him. As the head of Twitter, he used to seem to me like a captain designing new cocktails in the onboard bar while his ship heads straight for the next reef. On the other hand, with Starlink, Musk has practically created an entire industry from scratch within a very short time. More than half of all active satellites belong to Musk’s network, which was only built up in 2019. You have to let that sink in first. Maybe the visionary Musk will be able to prevail against the toddler of the same name from time to time in the future. In any case, I wouldn’t bet against it.
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The one condition for an all app
Back to Xitter, it seems to me that Musk has overlooked something crucial: Many features are a necessary but not a sufficient condition for an everything app. In addition, it also needs many users or a dominant market share. WeChat reached the billion mark five years ago. On Twitter, however, user numbers have been falling since 2022.
If Musk continues to be so successful at scaring away his customers, it will do him little good to constantly stuff the rest with new functions. Especially since there are already established alternatives for most features and very few people would actually be stupid enough to entrust their entire digital lives to a guy like Musk.
Gregor Honsel has been a TR editor since 2006. He believes that many complex problems have simple, easy-to-understand, but wrong solutions.
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