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Elon Musk threatens to ban Apple devices from his companies over OpenAI partnership

1 month ago 25

Elon Musk, Chief Executive Officer of SpaceX and Tesla and owner of X speaks during the Milken Conference 2024 Global Conference Sessions at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., May 6, 2024. 

David Swanson | Reuters

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, threatened to ban Apple devices from his companies on Monday after the iPhone maker announced a partnership with OpenAI.

In a series of posts on his social media platform X, Musk shared concerns about whether Apple and OpenAI will protect users' information.

He called the software integration between the two companies "an unacceptable security violation," and said Apple has "no clue what's actually going on."

Apple announced its long-awaited push into artificial intelligence on Monday, which included an update to its voice assistant Siri. As part of the update, Siri can tap into OpenAI's popular ChatGPT chatbot. Apple said users will be asked for permission to share their questions with ChatGPT, and their requests and information will not be logged.

"It's patently absurd that Apple isn't smart enough to make their own AI, yet is somehow capable of ensuring that OpenAI will protect your security & privacy!" Musk wrote after the event.

He specifically said that Apple devices would be banned if the company "integrates OpenAI at the OS level," referring to Apple's operating system.

Apple told CNBC that the company is using its own AI, and its integration with OpenAI is an optional feature.

Musk replied directly to a post from Apple CEO Tim Cook and claimed he will ban Apple devices from his companies' premises unless Cook decides to "stop this creepy spyware." He added that his companies' visitors will be asked to check their Apple devices at the door.

Tesla, Musk's largest company, employed 140,473 people worldwide as of Dec. 31. The company has implemented layoffs this year exceeding 10% of headcount.

Musk co-founded OpenAI in 2015 and stepped down from its board in 2018. He's been a vocal critic of the company and CEO Sam Altman of late. In March, Musk sued OpenAI and Altman, among others, alleging they abandoned the company's founding mission to develop AI "for the benefit of humanity broadly."

Musk raised $6 billion in a recent funding round for his would-be OpenAI competitor, xAI, whose first product, Grok, is meant to serve as a politically incorrect answer to ChatGPT. In addition to Tesla, SpaceX, and xAI, Musk is founder of brain interface startup Neuralink and tunneling venture Boring Company.

Musk and OpenAI didn't immediately respond to CNBC's requests for comment.

— CNBC's Steve Kovach and Lora Kolodny contributed to this report.

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