UNITED STATES: Soon after news broke out that Elon Musk intends to repurchase Twitter, the software tycoon tweeted that the purchase would assist him in building an “everything app.”
“Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app,” wrote the billionaire on his newly purchased social platform.
It is now crystal clear that Musk wanted to buy Twitter to make it better and is coming up with a grander plan: creating X, an “everything app” that will help access multiple key services per our needs.
But it’s not yet clear whether Musk will rebrand Twitter as X or build an entirely new app called X.
About “X”, the everything app
The idea of an “everything app” is not new, as in AISA; some multi-purpose apps are already out there, which have been playing vital roles in our day-to-day lives for the past few years. And digital companies from all over the world have attempted to replicate them.
A super app, or what Musk refers to as an “everything app”, is a kind of mini-internet in which a single so-called “super app” accesses multiple key services per our needs.
“X” can be described as the Swiss army knife of mobile apps, which gives users access to several different services, including peer-to-peer payments, social networking, chat, and online shopping.
Musk didn’t go into depth regarding this X-named software’s capabilities, but several multi-purpose apps are now already available. China’s WeChat app is undoubtedly the most well-known, with over 1 billion users.
WeChat is a commonplace aspect of daily life in China. Users can pay for goods at merchants, send money to friends and family, or hail a car or taxi.
As mentioned in the post, WeChat was tested in various Chinese cities in 2018 as part of an electronic identification system that would be linked to users’ accounts.
Then, there’s Grab, one of Southeast Asia’s top super apps, providing a dizzying range of services, from ordering cabs and eating to paying bills and planning vacations.
Scott Galloway, a professor of marketing at New York University and co-host of a tech podcast, noted that it was widely used in Asia and said that this was because “for many individuals in the region, mobile is the main form of access to the internet.”
Why does Musk want to develop a “super app”?
Earlier, Musk had stated that there isn’t a super app like WeChat outside of Asia during a question-and-answer session with Twitter staff in June.
“You basically live on WeChat in China,” he said, adding that he saw an opportunity to develop such an app.
Additionally, Musk could achieve his ambitious expansion plans for Twitter by enhancing its current tools and offerings. During the staff Q&A, Musk stated that he intended Twitter to grow from 237 million users to “at least a billion”.
Musk and individuals also discussed the concept of integrating digital payments with Twitter in his inner circle via text messages.
Not only Musk but other tech companies are also interested in creating one “super app.”
For instance, Snap Inc. (SNAP.N), the parent company of Snapchat, had previously introduced peer-to-peer payments under the name Snapcash, but the service was discontinued in 2018. To minimize costs, it also made a push into mobile gaming, but it just stopped that endeavor.
Facebook and Instagram, owned by Meta Platform Inc., have also attempted to move beyond social networking and messaging into e-commerce.
Musk’s closeness with “X”
Musk has expressed his attachment to the letter “X,” also the name of his new software, by saying, “he has a fondness for the letter X.”
Musk publicly refers to his first child with musician Claire Boucher, known as Grimes, as “X,” although he had used the letter since at least 1999 when he helped found X.com, an online bank, according to a report.
A rival software firm, Confinity, and X.com merged in 2000. In 2001, Musk was replaced as CEO of X.com by Peter Thiel, one of Confinity’s founders, and the business was renamed PayPal. But in 2017, the billionaire purchased the X.com domain from PayPal.
After that, he tweeted, “Thanks PayPal for allowing me to buy back X.com! No plans right now, but it has great sentimental value to me.”