Elon Musk Vs. Tim Cook Feud Gets Over In A Heartbeat: Analyst Says We Were Just Served 'Masterclass In Crisis Management'

Zinger Key Points
  • Elon Musk and Apple amicably resolved the misgivings between them following a public outburst by the billionaire.
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook's ability to face problems head-on and his flexibility are key attributes of his crisis management skills.

Elon Musk recently called out Apple Inc. AAPL for pulling out most of its ads from Twitter and threatening to boot the platform out of the App Store. Two days later, Musk tweeted that all misunderstandings were resolved.

What happened in the interim?

It’s here that Apple CEO Tim Cook's “crisis management superpower” came into play, according to Loup Funds’ Gene Munster.

The Musk Vs. Apple case played out in the court of public opinion, where the former typically excels, Munster said. The two parties were on a collision course, he added.

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“In the end, Cook put on a masterclass in crisis management which appears to have won over Elon and cooled tensions between the two companies,” the venture capitalist said.

Twitter Vs. Apple, What Was At Stake: About half of U.S. Twitter users are on the iPhone, Munster said. So, banning the Twitter app on the App Store would have had a significant headwind for the social media platform, he said.

More was at stake for Apple, the Loup Funds co-founder said. The U.S. government summoned big tech stocks over the past two years to question them about anti-competitive behavior, he noted.

With the threat of Congress breaking up big techs hanging like a Damocles’ sword, Musk declaring war with Apple could have acted as the catalyst to bring the latter into the “bullseye of government regulation,” he added.

Cook's Crisis Management Strategies: While stating that Cook’s ability to manage crisis is one of his superpowers, Munster said his playbook is to attack the problem and be flexible.

“Embracing conflict to improve the odds of success has been in Cook’s DNA since he first rebuilt Apple’s operations from 2000-2010,” the tech analyst said.

Munster also underlined Cook’s open-minded approach to negotiations and his flexibility, citing the Apple CEO's willingness to meet former President Donald Trump in 2018 and express the company's willingness to accelerate U.S. investment. This followed the former president’s suggestion regarding increased tariffs on Apple products.

Munster also noted that Cook quickly moved to reduce the App Store fees for smaller developers in 2020, sensing the frustration among developers.

“Cook’s meeting with Musk likely followed assurance that Twitter would safely remain in the App Store despite the lack of content moderation clarity on Twitter,” he said.

Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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