Elon Musk's lawyer just accused Microsoft of violating the Twitter developer agreement

Microsoft and Twitter logo
(Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

What you need to know

  • Alex Spiro, the personal lawyer of Elon Musk, sent Microsoft a letter on behalf of Twitter claiming that Microsoft has violated Twitter's developer agreement.
  • Spiro's letter states that Microsoft violated "multiple provisions" of the developer agreement for "an extended period of time."
  • The letter requests a "compliance audit" of how eight Microsoft apps have used Twitter data.
  • Musk has previously accused Microsoft of using Twitter data illegally.

The relationship between Microsoft and Twitter continues to sour. Following Twitter's demand to be paid for API access that was previously available free of charge, Microsoft decided to drop Twitter integration from several services. For example, users can no longer share game clips directly to Twitter. That ongoing saga between the tech giants now has another chapter involving a letter from Elon Musk's personal lawyer.

Alex Spiro, a personal lawyer of Musk sent a letter to Microsoft on behalf of Twitter. The letter claims that Microsoft has violated "multiple provisions" of Twitter's developer agreement "for an extended period of time." The letter was first reported on by The New York Times.

The letter makes several accusations, including claiming that Microsoft used Twitter's APIs for "unauthorized uses and purposes." Spiro also took a shot at Microsoft, stating that "Up until last month, when it declined to pay even a discounted rate for continued access to Twitter’s APIs and content, Microsoft operated eight separate Twitter API apps, listed below, which appear to provide data and functionality for at least five separate Microsoft products and services, including Xbox One, Bing Pages, Azure, Power Platform, and Ads" (emphasis added).

A total of eight Microsoft apps integrated with Twitter in some shape or form. Spiro claims that Microsoft apps exceeded the rate limit of the Twitter API. He added an accusation that Microsoft failed to disclose and obtain approval for the "intended use case for each Microsoft app."

Disclosure is a theme throughout the letter, which states that Microsoft did not inform Twitter of using APIs to power apps with automation capabilities.

Spiro concluded with a request for a compliance audit by Microsoft for the eight Microsoft apps in question.

Microsoft spokesperson Frank Shaw said the following to The Verge yesterday:

"Today we heard from a law firm representing Twitter with some questions about our previous use of the free Twitter API. We will review these questions and respond appropriately. We look forward to continuing our long term partnership with the company."

Microsoft specified to the New York Times that it does not pay Twitter for data.

Twitter responded to The Verge's press email the same way it responds to all press emails, with a poop emoji.

Musk issued a vague threat against Microsoft last month after claiming Microsoft "trained illegally using Twitter data." The Twitter CEO then added "lawsuit time."

In a follow-up Tweet, Musk said "I’m open to ideas, but ripping off the Twitter database, demonetizing it (removing ads) and then selling our data to others isn’t a winning solution."

It's unclear if the most recent letter is connected to Musk's tweet about training with Twitter data. The Twitter CEO has a mixed history when it comes to public allegations and accusations on the social media platform he now runs.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.