Elon Musk asking to be Apple CEO allegedly led to profanity-laced tirade from Tim Cook

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 30
An anecdote found in a new book sheds some new light on the potential Apple acquisition of Tesla -- a negotiation that allegedly ended with expletives from Tim Cook.

Elon Musk wanted to take over as CEO if Apple acquired Tesla
Elon Musk wanted to take over as CEO if Apple acquired Tesla


A book titled "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk, and the Bet of the Century" brings up a previously unheard story behind talk of an Apple acquisition of Tesla. While the book itself isn't about Elon Musk, it dives into the various dealings of the company and how many people made Tesla what it is today.

According to the LA Times, the secondhand anecdote is atypical for the author's usual approach. The article provided a snippet of the exchange from the book.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook and Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk are talking on the phone. The 2016 unveiling of the make-it-or-break-it Model 3 is coming soon, but Tesla is in serious financial trouble. Cook has an idea: Apple buys Tesla.

Musk is interested, but one condition: "I'm CEO."

Sure, says Cook. When Apple bought Beats in 2014, it kept on the founders, Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre.

No, Musk says. Apple. Apple CEO.

"F-- you" Cook says, and hangs up.

The conversation shows a different side of Apple's usually unflappable CEO. However, this secondhand anecdote contradicts previous reports about the acquisition talks and Cook's assertion he had never spoken with Elon Musk on the matter. Musk too says he has never spoken with Cook.

Musk had reached out to Apple during the Model 3 program, and he has confirmed this previously. However, Musk said that Tim Cook refused to take a meeting.

Thanks to Elon Musk's heavy social media presence, it didn't take long for him to deny that this exchange occurred.

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. There were no conditions of acquisition proposed whatsoever.

He refused to meet. Tesla was worth about 6% of today's value.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk)

It isn't clear which account of events is accurate.

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,732member
    I don't even remotely imply to know anything about Tim Cook's candor between powerful tech titans, but I can't imagine Tim Cook telling anyone off like that.  I could easily imagine him laughing at Elon at the request, and politely saying "no" which is imho more direct than an emotional outburst.  It doesn't seem to be his style.  I could easily be wrong.

    That being said, as much as I admire Musk's leadership abilities, I don't think he would ever be a good fit for Apple as CEO.  Maybe some kind of "Chief Visionary Officer" maybe, but that's it.
    libertyandfreeDetnatorStrangeDaysrobin huberBeatsnapoleon_phoneapartretrogustobyronlmacplusplusviclauyyc
  • Reply 2 of 35
    HagenHagen Posts: 7member
    sflocal said:
    I don't even remotely imply to know anything about Tim Cook's candor between powerful tech titans, but I can't imagine Tim Cook telling anyone off like that. 


    Now Steve Jobs saying that....oh that seems like it would have been instantaneous. :)
    libertyandfreeTomPMRIBeatsscatzmuthuk_vanalingamapplguybakerzdosenchemengin1retrogustobyronl
  • Reply 3 of 35
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,078member
    Tim: What changes would you make at Apple?
    Elon: I would introduce ground breaking tech, promise to ship it by then end of the year, BUT actually ship it four years later... Muahahahaaa
    Tim: F*** you!
    edited July 30 StrangeDaysretrogustopatchythepirateronnkillroysconosciutowatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 35
    Hagen said:
    sflocal said:
    I don't even remotely imply to know anything about Tim Cook's candor between powerful tech titans, but I can't imagine Tim Cook telling anyone off like that. 


    Now Steve Jobs saying that....oh that seems like it would have been instantaneous. :)
    Agreed, this seems completely out of character for Tim Cook.  However Tim might of told him off after that request but it’s not even remotely believable to have occurred as described. 
    killroywatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 35
    Truthfully, almost anyone would have responded the same way.
    dysamoriaronnsconosciuto
  • Reply 6 of 35
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,574member
    This article fails to mention the book author’s name, but he now has zero credibility. I very much doubt this happened IRL. 
    seanjbyronlmacplusplusJapheywatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 35
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,531member
    Edit:

    I previously said they had met before. Even though clearly remembering the article and photos, it never happened.
    edited July 30
  • Reply 8 of 35
    sflocal said:
    I don't even remotely imply to know anything about Tim Cook's candor between powerful tech titans, but I can't imagine Tim Cook telling anyone off like that.  I could easily imagine him laughing at Elon at the request, and politely saying "no" which is imho more direct than an emotional outburst.  It doesn't seem to be his style.  I could easily be wrong.

    That being said, as much as I admire Musk's leadership abilities, I don't think he would ever be a good fit for Apple as CEO.  Maybe some kind of "Chief Visionary Officer" maybe, but that's it.
    I wouldn’t normally see it, but if this is real it verges on ridiculous. I could see an uncharacteristic FU in this case. Right that Musk wouldn’t be a great CEO for Apple. I think he is a better fit where there is a higher level of hardware vertical integration then you would find at Apple. Apple is all about software and silicon integration with a tight supply chain. I don’t see Musk being good at that. SpaceX and Tesla is perfect for him.
    edited July 30 watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 35
    XedXed Posts: 1,028member
    I don't know if this is true, but I sure hope it is.
    muthuk_vanalingamBeatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 35
    HagenHagen Posts: 7member
    Beats said:
    Elon is lying. Him and Tim have met before. Unless he means never met before about acquisition.
    Back in April Cook also claimed they have never met or spoken before.
    Beatspatchythepirateronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 35
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,725member
    Both principals say it never happened.
    A reporter relying on a third hand story is saying it did.
    Kida doubt it. 
    seanjdysamoriapatchythepirateronnbyronlFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 35
    applguyapplguy Posts: 169member
    I haven’t read a good fiction book in years. I’ll pass on this one too. 
    byronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 35
    Hard to believe this rumor. But, even if it were true, so what? Hasn't Apple's CEO earned the right to do it? I would think so.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 35
    shaminoshamino Posts: 481member
    This article fails to mention the book author’s name, but he now has zero credibility. I very much doubt this happened IRL. 
    AI failed to mention it.  FWIW, The LA Times book review it links to names the author: Tim Higgins.  And provides a link to the LA Times Bookshop site, where you can pre-order a copy.
    ArchStantonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 35
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,429member
    “...profanity-laced tirade...”

    Are you kidding me? Where’s the tirade? How do you “lace” a nonexistent tirade with only ONE word of profanity? At best, it’s a humorous retort, but it’s probably not even that.

    This story, claimed false by both parties that are alleged to have been part of the events, has been turned into a click-bait headline that leads to a piffle of nothingness.

    And I had to deal with stupid video popups just to read this baited nothing article.
    ichbinglitchedretrogustoronnArchStantonentropysdarrylk1wonkothesanemuthuk_vanalingamRayz2016FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 16 of 35
    heli0sheli0s Posts: 45member
    This feels like something Steve could have said in a hypothetical exchange with Elon, but it looks so out of character for Tim, who is so calm and measured, at least to the public eye. I am skeptical
    edited July 30 ArchStantonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 35
    Hagen said:
    Beats said:
    Elon is lying. Him and Tim have met before. Unless he means never met before about acquisition.
    Back in April Cook also claimed they have never met or spoken before.
    Moreso, Musk claimed he has never met Tim Cook. So the two parties involved in this have never met according to them. 

    I'm an avid reader but too many quasi biographicals are tabloid gossip trash. Unfortunately it is these that make big splashes in corporate media(that plays to gossip trash) to get books sold. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 35
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,548moderator
    Xed said:
    I don't know if this is true, but I sure hope it is.
    The book even quotes Elon Musk saying most of the book is not accurate:

    https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/books/story/2021-07-30/power-play-tesla-book-review

    "Musk apparently did not participate in the creation of “Power Play.” In an author’s note at the end, Higgins writes that Musk “was given numerous opportunities to comment on the stories, facts, and characterizations presented in these pages. Without pointing to any specific inaccuracies, he offered simply this: ‘Most, but not all, of what you read in this book is nonsense.’”"

    If it happened, Elon Musk would be happy to tell that story:

    https://www.cultofmac.com/401950/elon-musk-i-met-steve-jobs-and-he-was-a-jerk/
    https://www.gq.com/story/elon-musk-mars-spacex-tesla-interview

    Presumably only Musk and Cook would have been on the call so a credible anecdote is unlikely to come from a 3rd party. This author just wants attention to sell copies of his book and judging by how sites pick up any controversial Apple story and plaster it everywhere, it's a viable strategy.
    Beatsronnmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 35
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,531member
    Hagen said:
    Beats said:
    Elon is lying. Him and Tim have met before. Unless he means never met before about acquisition.
    Back in April Cook also claimed they have never met or spoken before.

    What the fu**?!

    I’m having a Mandela Effect moment. I clearly remember Cook meeting with him over the course of a month, reading rumors about what they may have discussed and in the end nothing coming of it.

    I even remember a photo of Tim and Elon walking on grass at Tesla and reading the story here on AI.

    Maybe I’m confusing Elon with someone else? This is insane. To make things worse this isn’t a “new” memory. I’ve remembered this since about 2016 when I read that article.
    JanNLbyronl
  • Reply 20 of 35
    Obviously who wrote this article does not know the definition of "tirade". I implore you to look it up and you'll definitely need to re-write this clickbait headline. 
    edited July 30 ArchStantondarrylk1dysamoriawatto_cobra
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