Many people think Apple’s refusal to buy Tesla when the car-maker was struggling was a serious mistake. But it turns out there might have been a previously unknown condition of the deal that made Apple immediately end negotiations: Tesla’s Elon Musk reportedly wanted to become Apple CEO.
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Elon Musk: Apple could have bought Tesla
Musk revealed in late 2020 that, when Tesla was struggling to launch the Model 3, he tried to meet with Apple about selling the company. He says the Mac-maker wouldn’t even talk to him.
But Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century by Tim Higgins tell it differently. A review of the book in the LA Times says Musk and Cook were in negotiations on a deal via a phone call when Musk insisted that he become Apple CEO.
“F— you” says Cook and ended the call.
While an amazing story, Musk denies it ever happened. He said on Friday via Twitter, “Cook & I have never spoken or written to each other ever.”
And Cook said in an interview in April 2021, “I’ve never spoken to Elon, although I have great admiration and respect for the company he’s built.”
That said, Tim Higgins is a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. That’s not the sort of person who completely makes up a wild story.
Apple Car vs. Tesla
It makes sense that Apple would have at least talked to Musk about buying Tesla. Apple reportedly has been working on its own design for an autonomous electric vehicle for close to a decade. Tesla is expected to be a top competitor for the Apple Car if it debuts in a few years, as is rumored.
But it’s also not surprising that Apple’s CEO wouldn’t be interested in being replaced by Elon Musk.