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Elon Musk Teases An ‘Everything App’: Is X Aiming for Total Platform Takeover?

Last Updated February 10, 2024 9:12 AM
Teuta Franjkovic
Last Updated February 10, 2024 9:12 AM

Key Takeaways

  • X aims to become an “everything app” integrating payments, defying its social media roots.
  • Revenue dipped after Musk’s takeover, but the focus shifted from short-term profits to long-term vision.
  • The user base surged, and payment licenses were acquired, but navigating global regulations remains a challenge.

In a cryptic move stirring intrigue across the tech world, Elon Musk recently tweeted  a silver ‘X’ letter accompanied by the phrase ‘the everything app’, igniting speculation and headlines.

X’s Bold Transformation in ‘Everything App’

Elon Musk’s vision for X extends far beyond a social media platform. His ambition is to transform X into an “everything app”, starting with integrating a payments system. This transformative journey hasn’t been without its challenges, including criticism over significant layoffs, reducing the workforce to around 1,500 as of August 2023. Nonetheless, under the leadership of new CEO Linda Yaccarino, who joined in June 2023, the resilient team at X is making strides, already securing money-transfer licenses in 12 US states by January 2024.

Musk’s track record of disrupting industries is well-established, from revolutionizing space travel with SpaceX to reshaping the automotive sector with Tesla, and even venturing into neural technology with Neuralink. His early achievements include writing the code for the game Blastar at age 12 and co-creating the foundational code for PayPal, which dramatically transformed global payment systems.

Despite X’s growing pains, its user base has surged to 556 million, a significant leap from the 320 million reported in Q1 of 2019. However, the platform faces stiff competition from giants like China’s WeChat, the world’s largest standalone app with 1.33 billion users and substantial revenues. The global e-commerce and payments landscape is vast and fiercely competitive, with players like Ant Financial dominating the scene. Musk’s foray into this domain with X could potentially diversify and enrich the array of options available, marking yet another industry the visionary entrepreneur is set to redefine.

 Reviving”Project X” and Pursuing Cosmic AI with xAI

While this concept seems to have burst onto the scene recently, its roots trace back to 1999 when Musk envisioned a financial services venture named Project X.

The early Project X concept eventually evolved into PayPal , following a merger with Confinity. Reigniting this visionary spark, Musk has revived the Project X notion  and renewed his association with the domain x.com, a digital asset he secured many years ago, hinting at the resurgence of his ambitious plans.

Adding to his portfolio of visionary projects, Elon Musk unveiled his latest endeavor, an artificial intelligence (AI) initiative named xAI, on July 12, 2023. With the bold objective to “understand the true nature of the universe,” Musk’s announcement has piqued widespread curiosity and anticipation.

Promising to disclose further details in due course, he has assembled a team of leading AI experts, signaling his serious commitment to unraveling the complexities of the cosmos through the lens of advanced technology.

Now again, X (previously known as Twitter) has been making waves  under the Musk’s lead, marking a new chapter in the platform’s journey.

What’s particularly intriguing is Elon Musk’s unwavering confidence in the project’s success. Recently, he made a bold declaration by announcing his complete removal of his phone number, opting to communicate exclusively through X. This move indicates Musk’s strong belief in the project’s viability and his commitment to its success.

The saga began in April 2022, culminating in Musk’s headline-grabbing $44-billion acquisition  of the social media giant, transitioning it into a private entity by October 27, 2022.

However, the path forward appeared rocky. Reports a year into Musk’s tenure painted a challenging financial picture: Fortune cited  a quarterly advertising revenue of just over $600 million, and Bloomberg’s projections for the entire year of 2023 suggested  a significant 28% decline in advertising revenues, rounding up to $2.5 billion, indicating that Musk’s X is navigating through tumultuous waters.

X Revenue Dips: A Strategic Shift Beyond the Numbers

Although some analyses suggest that X tallied revenues of $3.4 billion in 2023, this figure, even at its most optimistic, lags considerably behind the $5.01 billion  the platform recorded in 2021 as a public company. However, focusing solely on financial metrics may overlook the broader implications of the rebranding and strategic realignment under Elon Musk’s ownership.

Fifteen months into Musk’s transformative tenure, the shift from Twitter to X  represents more than a mere rebranding; it’s a fundamental pivot in the platform’s direction and purpose. The revenue fluctuation, while notable, does not approach the existential crisis  Musk faced with SpaceX in 2006, following the failure  of its initial Falcon rockets, underscoring that the current situation is part of a larger, more complex narrative.

SpaceX, boasting a workforce of 13,000, has soared to a staggering valuation of $180 billion , continually revolutionizing the aerospace sector. The company is not just launching satellites into orbit and delivering internet access to the most secluded corners of the world but also regularly servicing the International Space Station (ISS) with its pioneering reusable rockets, capable of vertical landings.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk, simultaneously steering Tesla, is outpacing giants like Toyota in the automotive industry. His ambitions don’t stop there; Musk is also fervently investing billions in perfecting the Starship, poised to be the world’s largest rocket, marking his relentless pursuit of interplanetary exploration, with Mars firmly in his sights.

Navigating the Licensing Labyrinth

The potential for X to catalyze a paradigm shift in global e-commerce is immense, contingent upon its success in acquiring the requisite money-transfer licenses  across various jurisdictions. Securing these licenses could trigger an exponential ‘S-curve’ in adoption rates, envisioning a world where sending an e-cash gift or settling an international supplier’s invoice is as straightforward as sending a tweet.

However, this vision is not without its hurdles. Navigating the complex geopolitical landscape presents significant challenges, with X facing bans  in certain countries, though users often find ways to circumvent these restrictions. Similarly, competitors like WeChat encounter their own set of prohibitions in different regions. Since Musk’s takeover in October, X has been a hotbed of activity and controversy, oscillating between layoffs, rebranding efforts, debates on free speech, and tackling disinformation.

 

The journey ahead for X, particularly its foray into e-payments, stands as a monumental variable, poised to significantly influence the platform’s narrative and impact in the dynamic digital landscape.

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