Late last Friday, it was announced that in 2016 Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Apple CEO Tim Cook had a conversation to buy the former through the latter. As the conversation progressed, Musk asked Cook to be Apple’s CEO in return, to which Cook responded with a “fuck you”, hanging up the phone. The conversation, uncovered during a new Tesla book about to be released, has given a lot to say.
While this is just one more example of where the two companies are, the truth is, it never happened. And the explanation is very simple, since the two CEOs have never spoken. We are faced with a classic episode of fake news, designed to catapult a book to fame, possibly without much tangible contributions. Let’s see how this whole mess came about.
A cook sends musk to fry asparagus
The Los Angeles Times newspaper published a review last Friday of the book “Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century,” published by Wall Street Journal reporter Tim Higgins. According to the article, the book recounts this episode about the possible purchase of Tesla:
Apple CEO Tim Cook and Tesla CEO Elon Musk are chatting over the phone. The unveiling of the risky Model 3 is approaching, but Tesla is in serious financial difficulty. Cook has an idea: Apple buys Tesla. Musk is interested, but on one condition: “I’m the CEO.” Of course, says Cook. When Apple bought Beats in 2014, it kept its founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. No, Musk said. Apple, CEO of Apple. Fuck you, Cook says and hangs up the phone.
Almost immediately, the episode started to spread like wildfire on the internet and social media. According to reviewer Russ Mitchell, this is “the juiciest claim” to be found in the book. To then affirm that this is a second-hand anecdote, that is to say that neither of the two protagonists had confirmed it for the book. An extreme confirmed by the author of the book himself.
So far the origin of the story. Of course, this could be one more episode among Elon Musk’s well-known pike with Apple. One in which he found neither answer nor fuel on the other side. The truth is, there is a lot to be doubted about and the story started to crumble like sugar within hours.
A lie built with part of the truth
In the past, the possible purchase of Tesla by Apple has been the subject of rumors. In fact, Apple considered buying the company in 2013, according to Musk himself. Again, in 2016, Musk recently revealed that he wanted to offer Tim Cook to buy Tesla although he couldn’t speak to him. As we know, none of this ever materialized.
The lies that mix the truths into your fiction become more real. And the same thing happens in the one in question, because the conversation between the two CEOs is about a possible acquisition. The interest between the two was there, but the episode is completely bogus.
If this is the “juiciest” episode of the book, it will only add more insight and insight to the Tesla conversation.
Last April, Tim Cook claimed to have never spoken to Musk in an interview with Kara Swisher on augmented reality. Musk, for his part, claimed that what was said in the book was “bogus and boring,” to make it even clearer later. The two CEOs never spoke:
Cook and I never spoke or wrote to each other.
There was a time when I asked to meet with Cook to talk about Apple’s purchase of Tesla. No vesting condition has been proposed.
I refused to meet. Tesla was worth around 6% of today’s value.
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 30, 2021
Juicy inventions to push a mediocre book
Anyone who has followed both companies will know that such an acquisition does not fit with Apple. For Musk, being Apple’s CEO would be nothing more than a distraction from his goal of making electric cars. Cook, who is known to be calm by nature, does not fit this expression attributed to him.
The episode is definitely wrong. But it has already achieved its goal, which is to put a book on everyone’s lips that otherwise half of people wouldn’t have heard of. An advertising movement that worked like a charm.
A second-hand anecdote recognized by the author of the book and the critic, an impossible gossip since the two CEOs have never spoken and denied by one of them twice. It is hard enough to follow the day to day and the trajectory of the technological world, to add a layer of fiction to make the stories more attractive.