Elon Musk could end up as one of this century’s greatest visionaries. Heck, he might be there already with what he and his companies have accomplished in such a short time and against such long odds. But that doesn’t mean the guy was always fully bought-into certain initiatives or didn’t seek the occasional exit. Musk said, in a recent tweet, that years ago he actually tried to sell Tesla to Apple, but the latter didn’t want to take the meeting. Here’s the exchange:
Elon Musk bringing up a possible sale to Apple was in reference to his time developing the Tesla Model 3. While the car is in full distribution now, it took a long time to roll out. Musk’s references to the “dark days” could be alluding to a time back in late-2017, early-2018 when things were looking a little bleak on that front. While the Model 3 had been announced years before, the original timelines of having it rolled out by 2018 were looking more than a little delayed.
During that time Musk and Tesla had promised to be producing more than 5,000 cars per week (to fill backorders) but were on pace for less than half of that. Some speculated the company would never be able to actually even fulfill all of its orders. Musk looking for an exit during that period would have made a lot of logistical sense. If it’s true, Apple would probably be kicking themselves for the missed opportunity considering some are projections of an eventual $1-2 trillion market cap. And Musk sticking with Tesla has helped grow his net worth to an estimated $145 billion.
Elon Musk coming out with the claim that Apple CEO Tim Cook refused to take the phone call about a possible Tesla purchase hasn’t been verified by the latter. But the tweet in question does come on the heels of Apple announcing it was restarting its electric car initiatives earlier this week. Apple’s apparent plan is to roll out their own electric car in early 2024 as a mass-market play that would come into direct competition with Tesla. It’s possible Musk is simply throwing shade at the company, especially considering he directly references having been willing to give up Tesla for what now would be pennies on the dollar.
Elon Musk is nothing if not a headliner grabber these days. A recent SpaceX launch was the first time a private company had put astronauts into space. But the controversial tycoon has also come out publicly against a number of different pandemic-related closing mandates and has also announced he’d be moving his companies out of California and into Texas.
Whether he’s trying to drum up a little publicity with these last comments about Apple possibly missing out on the deal of the century is anyone’s guess. Elon Musk rolls a little differently than your average CEO. But it’s likely that he’s gearing up for a long-term competition with Apple in the electric car space at the very least.