- According to a new book, Elon Musk wanted to be CEO of Apple, and Tim Cook cursed him out.
- Musk and Cook say they’ve never spoken.
- Musk admits he wanted Apple to buy Tesla during the company’s “darkest days.”
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
A new book reports that a testy phone call between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Apple boss Tim Cook ended abruptly with some not-so-kind words from the latter. Musk claims it never happened.
According to Tim Higgins’ “Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk, and the Bet of the Century,” around 2016, as Tesla struggled to ramp up production of the Model 3 sedan, Musk and Cook spoke on the phone about Apple potentially acquiring the fledgling car startup. Musk was open to a deal, but he had one condition Cook couldn’t stomach.
Musk wanted his job – he wanted to be CEO of Apple, Higgins reports, citing people familiar with Musk’s version of events.
“F— you,” Cook reportedly responded, and hung up.
Musk said in December that he wanted Apple to buy Tesla during the “darkest days of the Model 3 program,” when he was sleeping on Tesla’s factory floor as the company went through what he has called “manufacturing hell.” But, according to Musk, Cook never agreed to a meeting.
“Cook & I have never spoken or written to each other ever. There was a point where I requested to meet with Cook to talk about Apple buying Tesla,” Musk tweeted on Friday in response to the report. “There were no conditions of acquisition proposed whatsoever. He refused to meet.”
Reached for comment, a representative for Apple pointed to an interview with The New York Times during which Cook said he had never spoken to the Tesla CEO. In “Power Play,” however, Higgins notes that Cook and Musk have been photographed sitting next to each other and that they served together on a business school advisory board in China.
Higgins also notes that it’s hard to say whether Musk’s retelling of the phone call was accurate.
“It’s hard to imagine Musk was serious about wanting to be CEO of Apple,” he said.
Penguin Random House, the book’s publisher, declined to make Higgins available for comment.
Since Musk’s hunt for an Apple acquisition, Tesla’s market cap has ballooned to $US685 ($AU932) billion, making it the most valuable car company in the world. Apple is working on an electric car of its own, a project it started in 2014.