Tesla CEO Elon Musk is setting the record straight about an alleged phone call he had with Apple CEO Tim Cook. A new book about Musk from Wall Street Journal reporter Tim Higgins claims Musk and Cook disagreed over the terms of a potential buyout of Tesla by Apple. Cook allegedly hung up the phone, but not before using some choice words to the Tesla frontman before doing so.
According to the book titled “Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century,” author Tim Higgins says that Cook and Musk had a conversation over the phone in 2016 that may have hinted toward the potential acquisition of Tesla by Apple. The story says that Musk was willing to consider the idea if he could be CEO, but Cook had no inkling of letting the entrepreneur take over his post.
“F*** you,” Cook reportedly said. Cook then hung up the phone.
However, Musk stated that this conversation, if it ever took place, was false. “Higgins managed to make his book both false *and* boring,” Musk said, following the statement with several laughing emojis. In a later statement, the Tesla CEO added that he has never had a conversation with Cook in any capacity. “Tesla was worth about 6% of today’s value,” Musk said, after he requested a meeting that could have seen Apple acquire Tesla.
How false are we talking here? Did ANY of this happen?
— James Clayton (@JamesClayton5) July 30, 2021
Musk also told Ashlee Vance, the author of the Elon Musk biography that he has “never met, spoken to or even had written correspondence with Tim Cook.
Musk tells me, "I have never met, spoken to or even had written correspondence with Tim Cook." https://t.co/8TcI2eeKuL
— Ashlee Vance (@ashleevance) July 30, 2021
A podcast from the New York Times suggests that Cook has actually never spoken to Musk, based on Cook’s own analysis. “You know, I’ve never spoken to Elon, although I have great admiration and respect for the company he’s built,” Cook said in the April interview. “I think Tesla has done an unbelievable job of not only establishing the lead but keeping the lead for such a long period of time in the EV space. So I have great appreciation for them.”
Musk did consider selling Tesla at one point and did reach out to Cook for a potential meeting, he said late last year. During the Model 3 program, which Musk regularly refers to as “production hell,” he reached out to Cook to discuss the potential acquisition of Tesla by Apple. Cook refused to take the meeting, and it is likely a good thing. Since the Model 3’s trying and stressful ramp, Tesla has launched itself to be the seventh most valuable company globally with a market cap of $690.25 billion. Apple is the most valuable company on Earth, with a $2.402 trillion market cap.
There is undoubtedly the potential that the two companies could end up having a conglomeration many years down the road, especially as rumors of a potential Apple electric car have circulated through the EV sector in recent months. “In terms of the work that we’re doing there, obviously, I’m going to be a little coy on that. The autonomy itself is a core technology, in my view. If you sort of step back, the car, in a lot of ways, is a robot,” Cook said during the Sway podcast. “And we’ll see what Apple does…I’m not saying that one will not [see the light of day].”
Higgins’ book, Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century, is available now.