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Elon Musk and Apple's Tim Cook Make Peace

The boss of Tesla and Twitter had declared war on Apple, which he accused of being an opponent of free speech.
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Peace seems to have returned to Silicon Valley...for now. 

Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, declared war on Apple  (AAPL) - Get Free Report, the largest company in the world, on November 28. 

The battle between the two giants was beginning to fascinate business circles and social networks where everyone took sides and wondered which of the two giants was going to give in.

In a series of tweets, Musk accused Apple of becoming America's free speech censor. He claimed, without providing details and evidence, that the iPhone manufacturer had threatened to stop distributing the Twitter app on the App Store. 

"Apple has also threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, but won’t tell us why," Musk said on Twitter on November 28.

'Good Conversation'

The obvious reason, however, is that the philosophies of the two companies diverge on the management of disinformation and hateful, racist and anti-Semitic content.

The billionaire also posted a photomontage showing a car a moment before taking a highway exit. The direction sign shows that by continuing straight the car would have paid 30%, but by leaving the highway the vehicle would go to war. 

Musk wrote that he was the vehicle. The 30% was a reference to the fee that the maker of the iPad and the Apple Watch applies to in-app sales and purchases.

"The Musk vs Apple new battle is not what investors want to see," commented Wedbush analyst Dan Ives. "The Street wants less drama, not more as this Twitter situation remains the gift that keeps on giving for the Tesla bears with every day a new chapter."

This message seems to have resonated with the two belligerents since, 48 hours later, Musk has just announced that he met Cook at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino on November 30 and that their disputes are now settled.

"Good conversation," the Techno king wrote on Twitter. "Among other things, we resolved the misunderstanding about Twitter potentially being removed from the App Store."

He added: “Tim [Cook] was clear that Apple never considered doing so."

The serial entrepreneur also published another post accompanied by a video apparently taken at Apple headquarters.

"Thanks @tim_cook for taking me around Apple’s beautiful HQ," Musk said.

How Long Will Peace Last?

For a long time, the two rivals never turned to direct confrontation, preferring to challenge each other indirectly. But when Musk became the owner of Twitter  (TWTR) - Get Free Report on October 27, the clash became inevitable. 

That's because Apple is an app distributor, and its content policy diverges from the approach of Musk, who regards himself as a "free-speech absolutist", even when it comes to hate speech.

In the name of free speech, Musk has reactivated former President Donald Trump's account and accounts known for anti-transgender posts like those of the conservative satirical site Babylon Bee and the Canadian conservative psychologist Jordan Peterson. 

Musk also announced a general amnesty for all banned accounts, after having run a survey on the platform.

The problem is that this strategy clashes with the philosophy of Apple and Alphabet. As app distributors, Apple via Apple Store and Google via Google Play, both companies have strict policies regarding hateful speech. 

"When people install an app from the App Store, they want to feel confident that it’s safe to do so — that the app doesn’t contain upsetting or offensive content, won’t damage their device, and isn’t likely to cause physical harm from its use," the iPhone maker says in the App Store guidelines. "If you’re looking to shock and offend people, the App Store isn’t the right place for your app."

The question now is whether the peace between Musk and Apple will last. In the past, the billionaire made agreements that he later denounced. This was the case with the acquisition of Twitter which was strewn with multiple twists.

In October, Musk predicted that Tesla's  (TSLA) - Get Free Report valuation would reach at least $4.5 trillion in the next few years. 

Apple is currently the world's most valuable company, with a market value of $2.35 trillion at last check, according to Saudi Aramco, which is benefiting from soaring oil prices, has a market value of $1.96 trillion. 

Between them, the two largest companies in the world are worth $4.3 trillion.

Currently, Tesla, the EV maker, has a market capitalization of more than $606 billion. The manufacturer of electric vehicles had, at one point, crossed the symbolic valuation threshold of $1 trillion.