Reuters reports that Marchionne met with Cook on his recent trip to California, also meeting with Tesla CEO Elon Musk. This stands unique with Tesla's lack of collaboration with other manufacturers in the past.
Marchionne also took a ride in Google's self-driving car while he was in the neighborhood, but his meeting with Apple's head honcho drew the most attention.
Cook wants to conquer the car
It has been widely speculated for years that Apple is working out a route to enter the auto industry, with an electric car reportedly set for production in 2020, and rumors of a self-driving car in the works. Apple's electric car project, codenamed 'Titan', would thrust Apple into the world of motor vehicles and set itself up to rival electric car pioneer Tesla.
According to Marchionne, however, the meeting was focused on expanding Apple's integration in vehicles, something that the Cupertino firm has been striving toward for some time. The company has released a system called CarPlay for integrating iOS into vehicles for extensive hands-free iPhone use.
Some auto outfits have begun courting Apple and Google in anticipation of their competition in the fields of electric and self-driving cars. Whether this meeting between Cook and Marchionne is in relation to Apple's interest in its very own car, or simply about bringing CarPlay to your next Dodge Dart (or Ferrari 458,) Apple is clearly, deeply interested in automobiles.
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