Elon Musk has claimed on Twitter that he once wanted to talk to Tim Cook about selling Tesla to Apple, but Cook declined to even take the meeting.
Musk says he made his offer to sell during the "darkest days" of the Model 3 programme in 2017. (Tesla initially had enormous problems manufacturing the Model 3 in sufficient quantities and without quality problems, and at times Musk even had the Model 3 produced in a huge tent.) The Tesla boss apparently lost his nerve so badly during this period that he resolved to sell the company.
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.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 22, 2020
Assuming Musk's recollection is accurate, Apple may have missed out on a bargain: he says Tesla was at the time worth just a tenth of its current value. And it would fit neatly into the Apple development portfolio as it's currently understood: only this week Reuters claimed that the iCar project is back on.
The Verge asked for Apple to comment on Musk's tweet, but the company has not replied at time of writing.
Apple and Tesla have some history. It's been remarked upon that employees frequently move from company to the other, and Musk has ridiculed Apple in the past as the "Tesla graveyard".
Furthermore, it's been reported that Apple actually has been interested in buying Tesla, which makes Cook's supposed refusal of even a meeting seem particularly odd. This interest, according to Inc, dates back to 2013, well before the "production hell" of the Model 3, but there was a catch: Apple was only willing to buy Tesla if Musk left. Musk refused and the takeover died with it.
Incidentally, Analyst Gene Munster thinks Apple could be a threat to Tesla and Tesla needs to be smart about how it deals with it.
For more info on Apple's interest in the electric vehicle space, read our guide to the latest iCar rumours.
This article originally appeared on Macwelt. Translation by David Price.