CEOs and drama: Apple’s Tim Cook, Tesla’s Elon Musk

Oh, the drama. Both Apple and Tesla Motors are embroiled in some. Apple is catching flak from shareholders who want the Cupertino company to share more of its wealth. And Tesla is dealing with a negative New York Times review of its Model S sedan.

• Apple CEO Tim Cook, who spoke this morning at a Goldman Sachs tech conference in San Francisco, called hedge fund manager David Einhorn’s lawsuit over the company’s proposal to require a shareholder vote before issuing preferred stock “a silly sideshow,” and said, “I find it bizarre we find ourselves being sued for doing something that’s good for shareholders.”

Other points of note: Cook took issue with Einhorn’s claim that Apple has a “depression-era mentality” because it has a huge cash hoard. He said the company regularly buys small companies, and that it has “enormous momentum.” He also said tablets are “a huge opportunity,” and downplayed the company’s recent stock decline, stressing that he’s focused on the long term. Cook said he has “never been more bullish” about other products Apple is working on.

Apple shares were down about 2 percent to $469.90 as of this post.

• As for the drama between Tesla and the New York Times, which published a review of the Model S describing a road trip marred by battery problems, it has affected the electric-car maker’s stock and raised nagging concerns about the viability of all-electric cars.

CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter and elsewhere to blast the review, calling it “fake” and “ridiculous.” He also retweeted other Tesla owners. Among other things, Musk said Tesla would release a log of John Broder’s test drive, which Musk said will show that Broder took an unscheduled detour and drove too fast. That promise is raising another question about how much Tesla knows about its drivers, and whether it will protect their privacy. Musk says on Twitter: “Tesla data logging is only turned on with explicit written permission from customers, but after Top Gear BS, we always keep it on for media.”

Musk has been known to take umbrage with media coverage in the past. As GMSV has mentioned, he has engaged in a war of words with tech writer Owen Thomas, and Tesla has sued the BBC over a “Top Gear” review that brought up battery issues and that it also called fake. But he told Bloomberg TV today he has only felt the need to “speak up” a few times.

Shares of the Palo Alto company were off more than 1.75 percent to $37.70 as of this post, after falling 2 percent Monday.


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  • rob

    NYT: The battery ran out, left me stranded even though it showed started off showing slightly more range than I drove (about 15 parts in 250). Or 90 miles range at night dropping to 25 miles range in the morning.
    MUSK: The driver did not drive my wonderful car correctly. He drove it faster than he should have, and two miles farther than the shortest route. he must be out to get me.

    Umm, sometimes driving a car right up to the edge of its range will leave you stranded. Umm, sometimes the truth makes you look bad. Live with it.

  • sd

    I don’t understand why Musk thinks the media are out to get him and his cars. The New York Times certainly is not of the “drill, baby, drill” mentality. Top Gear may have its biases, but why would they try to off electric propulsion for the right driver?

    I’m always a little suspicious when someone claims all of their problems are always with other people. The Tesla S may be a tremendous step forward in electric cars. That doesn’t mean it solves all their problems in one big leap.

  • John

    It is vital for oil companies to continue lobby governments and influence media to try to impede the proccess of energy transition out of oil. If i were oil company ceo that has billion dollar of cash thats what i would do, there is no question about it. Its just a matter who got a deeper pocket. But I guess in this information age, its harder and harder to control media with internet , twitter and facebook.

    Many people forgot the hidden cost of fossel fuel is that the government has to put securities into transport lines and oil producing countries to make sure there isnt any supply problems that affect the economy of the country and that cost trillion of dollars much more than the punny subsidies that the government giving out.

    I’m a canadian and i wanted the oil to keep high so its better for our economy, but i guess transition to an other fuel source is innevitable