Chamath Palihapitiya, CEO of 4-year-old VC firm Social Capital Partnership, doesn’t have a high opinion of Apple CEO Tim Cook.
He called the chief executive of the most valuable company in the world “human Ambien” during an interview on CNBC on Thursday, adding that Cook is “unfortunately, you know, pretty lackluster.”
“I saw him on ‘Mad Money’ and it was like human Ambien. I mean, it was pretty boring,” Palihapitiya said, referring to Cook’s television appearance earlier this week, which was covered by hundreds of publications. “It would be very difficult for me to work for him.”
Palihapitiya negatively compared Cook to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, criticizing the Apple boss for leaving so much money “rotting” on its balance sheet and spending more money on its new campus than on research and development.
He’s one of the first Silicon Valley personalities to make that criticism of Cook, and his comments carry weight considering that he has backed startups such as Slack, Box, and SurveyMonkey.
But criticism of Cook has certainly increased since Apple posted disappointing earnings earlier this month. Music-industry crank Bob Lefsetz made a similar remark last week.
“Tim Cook needs to be replaced. Apple doesn’t need a traffic cop, it needs a visionary,” Lefsetz wrote.
As Apple slogs into middle age and no longer can display the explosive growth that it has in the past few years, even longtime boosters are turning bearish, such as Carl Icahn, who sold his multibillion-dollar position in the stock earlier this year, although he praised the company and Cook.
But it’s worth noting that Palihapitiya has been saying some pretty controversial stuff in the past few months. For example, he made a dubious claim in March that early Facebook employees had to eat lunch with maggots in it two to three times a week.
Here’s the clip where he talks about Apple: