Update: Tesla CEO Elon Musk is denying that this interaction ever took place. He wrote on Twitter today that he and Cook have never spoken or written to each other. “There was a point where I requested to meet with Cook to talk about Apple buying Tesla. There were no conditions of acquisition proposed whatsoever. He refused to meet,” Musk says.
The history between Tesla and Apple, and between Tim Cook and Elon Musk, varies depending on who you talk to. At one point, Musk claimed to have reached out to Cook about selling Tesla to Apple, but Cook refused to even take a meeting. Cook, on the other hand, claims to have never spoken to Musk.
Now, Wall Street Journal reporter Tim Higgins is out with a new book next month called Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century, and it recounts an expletive-ridden conversation between Cook and Musk about Apple acquiring Tesla.
As detailed in a review of the book published today by the Los Angeles Times, Cook and Musk were reportedly on the phone discussing Tesla’s unveiling of the Model 3, and the struggles that went along with it. Cook suggested that Apple buy Tesla.
Musk was reportedly interested in this proposition, but on one condition: He serves as CEO not of Tesla, but of Apple entirely. “F– you,” Cook reportedly responded before immediately hanging up the call.
Cook apparently thought that Musk was saying he simply wanted to remain CEO of Tesla through the acquisition, not become CEO of Apple entirely.
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook and Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk are talking on the phone. The 2016 unveiling of the make-it-or-break-it Model 3 is coming soon, but Tesla is in serious financial trouble. Cook has an idea: Apple buys Tesla.
Musk is interested, but one condition: “I’m CEO.”
Sure, says Cook. When Apple bought Beats in 2014, it kept on the founders, Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre.
No, Musk says. Apple. Apple CEO.
“F— you” Cook says, and hangs up.
When asked in a recent interview about his relationship with Musk, Tim Cook explained that while he’s “never spoken to Elon,” he has “great admiration and respect” for Tesla. Apple has also hired a number of employees from Tesla over the years, leading Musk to at one point refer to Apple as the “Tesla graveyard.”
Apple is in the midst of its efforts to build an electric car of some sort, which presumably would compete directly with Tesla.
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