Apple 'Refused' Meeting to Acquire Tesla, Claims Elon Musk in Tweet

Elon Musk wanted to sell Tesla for one-tenth its current value in 2017, but Apple turned him down.
Brad Bergan

Elon Musk once tried to sell Tesla to Apple during the "darkest days" of the Model 3 rollout, but CEO Tim Cook "refused" to accept the invitation, according to a Tuesday tweet from CEO Musk.


Apple 'refused' meeting with Elon Musk to acquire Tesla

It appears Elon Musk is reacting on main to Apple's recent announcement of its intentions to build and sell all-electric, autonomous vehicles. Musk added how Tesla was worth roughly one-tenth of its current market capitalization — highlighting the meteoric rise in stock price Musk's company saw in 2020.

"During the darkest days of the Model 3 program, I reached out to Tim Cook to discuss the possibility of Apple acquiring Tesla (for 1/10 of our current value). He refused to take the meeting," tweeted Musk.

This hails back to a time when Musk said Tesla was "single-digit" weeks away from total collapse in 2017 — when the CEO directed all the company's efforts toward scaling up Model 3 sedan production. Tesla survived the ordeal, going on to develop and build the Model Y SUV, and even debut new unprecedented vehicles, like the forthcoming Cybertruck.

UPDATE Dec. 22, 4:50 PM EST: Apple retrains focus on building new autonomous, all-electric vehicles

Apple has spent the last five years playing with the idea of entering the world of autonomous and all-electric vehicles. But until this week most thought it would continue to focus on developing new software and various technologies it might later sell to other companies.

Until Monday, when a Reuters report revealed how Apple had trained its focus on making a new autonomous and electric car for general consumers.

UPDATE Dec. 22, 5:00 PM EST: Apple working on more compact, tighter lithium iron phosphate battery

One of the reasons alleged for Apple's double-backing is its potential progress in making breakthroughs with electric batteries. According to Reuters, Apple has committed to developing a lithium iron phosphate battery of a more compact scale — capable of fitting more tightly in the car's battery pack, which would reduce a vehicle's weight while also increasing the energy density, The Verge reports.

Musk also noted on Tuesday how Tesla is already using iron phosphate batteries in some of its cars undergoing construction in China.

"Strange, if true," tweeted Musk.

UPDATE Dec. 22, 5:10 PM EST: Elon Musk's past words on Apple, Tesla's meteoric rise

When Musk aimed to sell Tesla to Apple in 2017, he said it was "the next logical thing" in which Cook and Apple could push for a market share. "It's good that Apple is moving and investing in this direction. But cars are very complex compared to phones or smartwatches," he added, during an interview with the German newspaper Handelsblatt, reports Time Magazine.

No one can say whether Cook and Apple would have handled Tesla better than Elon Musk. Despite laying off half its employees in April 2020 amid a global pandemic, and resuming car production despite California lockdowns in May, the company has seen a meteoric rise in stock prices. We can say at least in terms of profitability, it was perhaps better Musk didn't sell his all-electric and autonomous car company.

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