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Getty Images.

  • Elon Musk said Tesla won't build a "walled garden" around its tech to "bludgeon" competitors.
  • The "walled garden" describes Apple's close control over what tech is compatible with its devices.
  • Musk also said Tesla uses less cobalt than Apple. Both have faced accusations of supply-chain child labour.
  • For more stories go

Elon Musk criticised Apple twice during Tesla's Q2 earnings call on Monday.

In one not-so-veiled reference to Apple, Musk said Tesla would not create a "walled garden" around its technology.

"It is our goal, to support the advent of sustainable energy, it is not to create a walled garden and use that to bludgeon our competitors, which is sometimes used by some companies," said Musk.

Per CNBC's Kif Leswing, Musk then faked a cough and said "Apple."

The "walled garden" is a term used to describe Apple's close control over what technology is compatible with its devices. For example, you can only download apps onto iPhones from its App Store.

Apple's tight control over its services has led some app developers to claim its behaviour is anticompetitive, and the EU's commissioner for competition in April accused it of breaking antitrust laws.

Tesla announced last week it would let other electric vehicles use its network of fast-charging points by the end of this year. This would be the opposite of a walled garden practice - although Elon Musk has a long history of missing deadlines.

During the earnings call, Musk also said Apple uses a lot more cobalt than Tesla to make batteries. "There's somehow a misconception that Tesla uses a lot of cobalt, but we actually don't," Musk said.

Both companies were named in a December 2019 lawsuit filed by 14 families from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), who said their children were killed or maimed working in cobalt mines to supply the metal to major tech companies.

While Tesla and Apple do not produce competing products at the moment, Apple's secretive self-driving car division, "Project Titan," has poached dozens of Tesla employees.

Apple did not immediately respond when contacted about Musk's comments.

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