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Elon Musk to ban Apple devices from his companies over OpenAI deal

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla and owner of

David Swanson | Reuters

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

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

He called the software integration between the two companies “an unacceptable security breach” and said Apple “has no idea what’s really going on.”

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

“It is patently absurd that Apple is not smart enough to create its own AI and yet is somehow able to ensure that OpenAI protects your security and privacy!” Musk wrote after the event.

He specifically said that Apple devices would be banned if the company “integrates OpenAI at the operating system level,” referring to Apple’s operating system.

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

Musk responded directly to a post by Apple CEO Tim Cook, stating that he will ban Apple devices from his companies’ facilities unless Cook decides to “stop this creepy spyware.” He added that visitors to his businesses will be asked to check their Apple devices at the door.

Tesla, Musk’s largest company, employed 140,473 people worldwide as of December 31. The company has implemented layoffs this year that exceed 10% of its workforce.

Musk co-founded OpenAI in 2015 and resigned from its board of directors in 2018. He has lately been a vocal critic of the company and CEO Sam Altman. In March, Musk sued OpenAI and Altman, among others, alleging that they abandoned the company’s founding mission of developing AI “for the benefit of humanity at large.”

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

Musk and OpenAI did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.

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

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