Elon Musk may have once suggested taking over as CEO of Apple, America’s most valuable company, as if he didn’t already run enough businesses.
Musk is said to have had a phone call with Tim Cook five years ago, in the midst of manufacturing delays and other issues plaguing Tesla’s planned Model 3 launch, during which the Apple (AAPL) CEO proposed buying Tesla. Musk said he’d do it, but only if he could be the CEO. It took Cook a moment to realize Musk was threatening his job, according to reports.
According to a Los Angeles Times review of Wall Street Journal reporter Tim Higgins’ upcoming book “Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk, and the Bet of the Century,” Higgins covers Apple (AAPL), Tesla (TSLA), and other tech companies. Cook reportedly responded to Musk with an expletive and hung up the phone, according to the review, which was published on Friday.
Musk and Cook, for their part, have denied ever speaking to one another.
Musk revealed on Twitter in December that he had considered selling Tesla to Apple, but that he had never spoken with Cook.
Musk revealed on Twitter in December that he had considered selling Tesla to Apple, but that he had never spoken with Cook. Musk said he approached Cook during the “darkest days of the Model 3 program” about acquiring Tesla “for 1/10 of our current value,” in response to a report about Apple’s plans to release a battery-powered, mass-market automobile.
Musk stated, “He refused to take the meeting.”
Musk also denied that the interaction described in the book occurred in a tweet sent out after the book review was published on Friday.
“Cook & I have never spoken or written to each other ever,” Musk said, adding that he had once requested a meeting with Cook to discuss Apple buying Tesla, but that it didn’t happen and “there were no conditions of acquisition proposed whatsoever.”
The author, Higgins, responded to Musk’s Friday tweet by saying that the Tesla CEO was given “plenty of opportunities” to comment on the story.
“This anecdote comes from Musk’s own account of the conversation, according to people who heard the retelling at the time,” Higgins tweeted.
When asked about the book’s claims, Apple directed CNN Business to an April interview Cook did with reporter Kara Swisher, who asked about Musk saying he refused a meeting. “You know,” Cook responded, “I’ve never spoken to Elon, although I have great admiration and respect for the company he’s built.”
In a meeting with former President Donald Trump in December 2016, Musk and Cook were photographed sitting near each other, with only Oracle (ORCL) CEO Safra Catz between them. It’s unclear whether the two exchanged words.
The film “Power Play” will be released on August 3rd.