Today, Apple and Tesla are not competitors. Nevertheless, this could change since we know that the Cupertino firm is interested in electric cars. And during a conference on financial results, Elon Musk did not fail to tackle Apple … twice!
As reported by CNBC, the Tesla boss made a comment about closed systems, referring to Apple. When the issue of Tesla chargers being compatible with competitors’ products was brought up, this is what Elon Musk said, “I think we want to emphasize that our goal is to support the advent of sustainable energy.”
“It’s not about creating a walled garden and using that to bludgeon our competitors, which is what some companies use,” he then added. The term “walled garden” is regularly used by the American press to describe Apple’s closed system, over which it has total control in terms of compatibility. Currently, this model is being questioned, especially after the Fortnite affair.
Strained relations for a long time?
Elon Musk also mentioned Apple during a discussion about batteries. He wanted to explain that Tesla uses little cobalt. But at the same time, he also took the opportunity to criticize the Cupertino firm.
“Apple uses, I think, almost 100% cobalt in its batteries, cell phones and laptops, but Tesla uses no cobalt in iron phosphate packs, and almost none in nickel-based chemicals,” Musk said. “On a weighted average basis, we could use 2% cobalt compared to, say, 100% Apple cobalt. Regardless, it’s really not a factor.”
As a reminder, some cobalt mines are associated with human rights abuses. But if Apple uses cobalt for its products, it assures that all its suppliers passed an audit in 2020.
In any case, these statements by Elon Musk show how strained relations are between the two companies. In 2015, Musk had already called Apple “Tesla’s graveyard”. “If you don’t succeed at Tesla, you go work at Apple,” he had said. Interested in electric cars, Apple had recruited former Tesla employees.
And in 2020, on Twitter, Elon Musk recounted, “During the darkest days of the Model 3 program, I contacted Tim Cook to discuss the possibility of Apple acquiring Tesla (for 1/10 of our current value). He declined to take the meeting.”