Elon Musk rejects report that he demanded to replace Tim Cook as Apple CEO

Tesla chief also slammed Apple over its ongoing legal battle with Fortnite maker Epic Games

Tesla’s billionaire founder Elon Musk has denied an unconfirmed story that he demanded to become Apple’s chief executive in a 2016 phone call with the iPhone maker’s head, Tim Cook.

“Cook & I have never spoken or written to each other ever,” Mr Musk said on Twitter while reacting to a narrative from a book that will soon be published.

Set for release on August 10, the book on the electric vehicle maker Tesla, Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk, and the Bet of the Century, by The Wall Street Journal reporter Tim Higgins mentions a purported 2016 conversation between Mr Musk and Mr Cook.

However, Mr Musk said he did approach Apple’s chief executive during the “darkest days” of the development of Tesla’s Model 3 sedan – currently the world's top-selling electric car – and was willing to sell the company for one tenth of the current value.

“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. Tesla was worth about 6 per cent of today’s value,” Mr Musk said.

“Higgins managed to make his book both false *and* boring,” he added.

Higgins said both Apple and Mr Musk were given “plenty of opportunities” to comment before publication but they did not.

“This anecdote comes from Musk’s own account of the conversation, according to people who heard the retelling at the time,” he said.

Mr Musk, who has more than 58.8 million followers on Twitter, also slammed Apple while sharing his thoughts on its ongoing legal battle with Fortnite maker Epic Games.

“Apple app store fees are a de facto global tax on the Internet. Epic is right,” he said.

In August last year, Epic Games sued Apple after it was removed from the company’s App Store.

The American video game and software developer was removed after it attempted to bypass Apple’s 30 per cent fee by creating its own direct payment system. Apple called this lawsuit a “marketing stunt” while Epic termed iPhone manufacturer’s policy an anti-competitive practice.

“Normally, competitive pressure would force Apple to lower fees, but Apple & Android have a duopoly on phones," Mr Musk said. "When interface familiarity is taken into account, it's basically a monopoly. The effective 30 per cent sales tax Apple charges is hidden from users or there would be an outcry.”

Updated: August 2nd 2021, 6:14 PM
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