Elon Musk Threatens to Ban Apple Devices at His Companies Over Tim Cook’s OpenAI Deal

Tesla, SpaceX and X all appear to use Apple products. It's unclear how Musk plans to replace those devices.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk claims Apple’s integration with ChatGPT is an “unacceptable security violation.” Apu Gomes/Getty Images

Elon Musk is not thrilled about Apple (AAPL)’s big A.I. moment. Following yesterday’s (June 10) announcement regarding Apple’s partnership with OpenAI to incorporate GPT features in new Apple devices, Musk, an OpenAI co-founder turned critic, took to his social media platform X to voice concerns that such an integration constitutes “an unacceptable security violation” and threatened to prohibit all Apple products from his companies. Musk owns and runs at least six companies, employing more than 100,000 workers.

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Don’t want it. Either stop this creepy spyware or all Apple devices will be banned from the premises of my companies,” said Musk in response to an X post from Apple CEO Tim Cook announcing Apple Intelligence. He added that office visitors will have to check Apple devices into Faraday cages at the door, referring to containers that block electromagnetic waves.

If Musk is serious about banning Apple products, the move could generate significant turnover at his numerous companies, which also include The Boring Company and Neuralink. Tesla (TSLA) reported some 140,000 employees in 2023, while SpaceX is estimated to have more than 11,000 workers and X recorded around 1,300 working employees as of last year.

Tesla, SpaceX and X all appear to use Apple products to a degree. Tesla uses both PCs and Apple Mac computers, according to employee posts on the tech networking platform Team Blind. Meanwhile, X has previously issued Macs to employees while SpaceX has been known to use iPads. It’s unclear what alternatives Musk plans to replace Apple computers and tablets with, though he has pointed towards a potential replacement for the iPhone. When responding to an X post suggesting the social media company partner up with Samsung (SSNLF) to manufacture an “X phone” with an open-source operating system, Musk wrote, “It is not out of the question.”

Apple unveiled its partnership with OpenAI and a roster of new A.I. features yesterday at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) and emphasized privacy as a top priority. One upcoming feature is a ChatGPT-powered Siri, but Apple said requests and information from users won’t be logged by OpenAI. The iPhone maker additionally revealed that some of its A.I. features will be powered by a newly developed cloud network called Private Cloud Compute (PCC) and noted that personal data sent to PCC won’t be accessible to Apple or anyone besides the user.

These claims haven’t appeared to sway Musk. “Apple has no clue what’s actually going on once they hand your data over to OpenAI. They’re selling you down the river,” he said in a series of X posts yesterday. “The truth is that handing your data over to digital superintelligence (that Apple themselves cannot even build or understand) at the operating system level is insane.”

Musk, who co-founded OpenAI in 2015, has been a vocal critic of the company in recent years. In March, he filed a lawsuit against OpenAI and its CEO Sam Altman claiming it has strayed from its mission to benefit humanity and is now prioritizing profit. The billionaire also launched a rival chatbot called Grok last year through his A.I. startup xAI, which raised $6 billion in a venture funding round in May.

Elon Musk Threatens to Ban Apple Devices at His Companies Over Tim Cook’s OpenAI Deal