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Elon Musk says Apple likely to lose out to Google

Serial entrepreneur takes dim view of company's chances to win smartphone battle with Google without Steve Jobs.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Sen. Dianne Feinstein at the opening of Tesla's new manufacturing plant, the former New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI), on October 27, 2010. James Martin/CNET

A couple of months ago, Apple could do no wrong. Now it's become the tech punditry's favorite pinata.

The latest to take a swipe: none other than Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk. Musk was quoted at a government-sponsored roundtable in London held last week saying that Apple will likely lose out to Google in the smartphone business "because (former Apple CEO Steve) Jobs is out of the picture."

He added that "it really makes a difference who runs the company. (Google CEO) Larry Page is quite good and probably in the long run will come out on top."

Musk's observations follow on the heels of recent comments by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak that Microsoft might be more creative than Apple.

Coincidentally, the renewed bout of pessimism came as Apple's stock soared on the strength of yet another analyst buy recommendation.