Tesla CEO Elon Musk took shots at tech giant Apple twice during a conference call to discuss Tesla’s earnings on Monday.
CNBC reports that Tesla CEO Elon Musk was quite critical of tech giant Apple during a recent conference call to discuss Tesla earnings. While Apple is not currently a direct competitor to Tesla, there have been reports of the company developing its own electric self-driving vehicle under a project code named Titan.
While working on this project, Apple has poached a number of engineers and executives away from tesla. The project is reportedly being headed by Doug Field, who returned to Apple in 2018 after spending five years at Tesla.
When asked about Tesla’s supply chain, Musk said that there is a misconception that Tesla uses a lot of cobalt in the production of its lithium-ion cells which are used in both electric cars and smartphones.
“Apple uses I think almost 100% cobalt in their batteries and cell phones and laptops, but Tesla uses no cobalt in the iron-phosphate packs, and almost none in the nickel-based chemistries,” Musk said. “On on a weighted-average basis we might use 2% cobalt compared to say, Apple’s 100% cobalt. Anyway, so it’s just really not a factor.”
Cobalt mining in places such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been heavily linked to human rights abuses such as child labor. In 2019, Apple, Tesla, and a number of other technology firms were named as defendants in a human rights lawsuit.
Later in the earnings call, Musk joked about Appel’s so-called “walled garden,” digital eco-system. This refers to Apple’s control over what software can be installed on the iPhone through its App Store. In response to a question about letting competitors use its charger network, Musk stated: “I think 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.”
Musk stated later in the call that he would likely not appear on future earnings calls unless he has “something really important” to say.
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