In a conference, CEO of Tesla Elon Musk picked on Apple during Tesla earning call. Even though these two Silicon Valley neighboring companies in the present do not compete directly; but Apple is rumored to be building an electric car by the name Titan. Apple’s electric car will be a self-driving vehicle. This project has attracted a number of engineers and executives away from Tesla. Doug Field in 2018 returned to Apple after five years of working at Tesla and currently heading the project Titan.
During the conference when Tesla was inquired about their supply chain, Musk answered that there’s a misperception that they uses a lot of cobalt, which is a key material in the production of lithium-ion cells used in both smartphones and electric cars. Not missing the chance Elon Musk retaliated that batteries, cell-phone and laptops made by Apple uses almost 100% cobalt, whereas Tesla in their iron-phosphate packs uses no cobalt, and very small quantity in the nickel-based chemistries. Musk further added that on on a weighted-average basis they might use 2% cobalt as compared to Apple’s 100% cobalt.
The mining of cobalt takes in place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; a region linked with human right abuses such as child labor. According to the Guardian, in 2019, Apple, Tesla and other major technology companies, were named as defendants in a human rights lawsuit.
Later in the conference, Musk made a snide remark about Apple’s so-called “walled garden,” which is nicked as Apple through its App Store strictly controls what software can be installed on the iPhone. Apple after being sued by Epic Games over App Store fees and policies, is under great scrutiny from lawmakers and other companies, including in an antitrust trial that took place earlier this year.
In a response to a question regarding allowing competitors to use their charger network Musk said that he thinks we do want to emphasize that our goal is to support the advent of sustainable energy; It is not to create a walled garden and use that to bludgeon our competitors which is used by some companies.
Musk then faked a cough and said, “Apple.”
During the call, Musk said he likely would not appear on future Tesla earnings calls unless he has “something really important” that he needs to say.