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Elon Musk: Apple hires Tesla rejects


Elon Musk

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has levelled several withering insults at Apple, incorporating both its e-car plans and its recent innovations.

Speaking in Berlin recently, Musk was asked if Tesla was worried over Apple's recent hiring of some of its own most important engineers.

"Important engineers? They have hired people we've fired," Musk told Handelsblatt. "We always jokingly call Apple the "Tesla Graveyard." If you don't make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I'm not kidding."

This prompted the interviewer to ask Musk, whose company had recently launched the Tesla Model X to considerable acclaim, whether he was taking Apple's e-car ambitions seriously. Musk took the opportunity to offer a slightly more gracious response, but framed it with more stinging insults.

"Did you ever take a look at the Apple Watch? (laughs) No, seriously: It’s good that Apple is moving and investing in this direction," said Musk.

Related: Elon Musk's 5 craziest tech ideas for the future

Musk also cautioned Apple that "cars are very complex compared to phones or smartwatches," and pointed out that you can't just go to Foxconn and ask them to build you a car.

He accepts that "for Apple, the car is the next logical thing to finally offer a significant innovation," but ended his assessment by claiming that "a new pencil or a bigger iPad alone were not relevant enough." Ouch.

See how useful we found the Apple Watch to be in the following video:


October 9, 2015, 8:46 am

Musk has Apple pegged perfectly.
They have been using everybody's technology for decades including much of it from their competitors.
firms they bought into like their sapphire fiasco have bombed and the
billions they spent on Beats is also listed as more a liability than an
Hiring fired deadwood does not bode well for a project that is more of a dead end for Apple than even a daydream.
Apple manufacturing a car "LOL"
a firm with billions sheltered in overseas tax havens they will find
themselves looking for more ludicrous hype to keep their existing
dystopic followers.


October 9, 2015, 10:38 am

Didn't Nokia say exactly the same thing about mobile phones when Apple were rumored to be developing one? I think if Apple entered the electric car industry, Tesla would take them seriously. They're renowned for smart design, are aware the smartphone boom won't last forever, and have billions to invest in the next big thing.

At the end of the day, Tesla was started from scratch just a few years ago, doubtless by poaching staff from auto makers. If Tesla can do it, there's nothing to stop Apple doing the same (indeed, they seem to be poaching from Tesla).

Everyone uses foreign sub-contracting to save costs, Tesla probably included. Having said that, Tesla are investing hugely in US-based battery production. As a core EV component, this should give them a big advantage going forward.


October 9, 2015, 11:29 am

Apple Watch is so crap.


October 9, 2015, 5:27 pm

Mr Musk's achievements are tremendously impressive. However, I think (personally) that Musk would be taking the so-called Project Titan quite seriously. Apple have a design concept become mainstream which few other companies can match.


October 9, 2015, 7:05 pm

A bit of smack talk is fun but that's all it is; not to be taken too seriously. Especially since Elon Musk is an anagram of "Me sunk lo" ;o)

Chris Bordeman

October 11, 2015, 9:27 pm

It's pretty laughable that Apple would try to compete with Elon Musk on engineering, using the people Musk laid off for failing to do what he asked of them.

Chris Bordeman

October 11, 2015, 9:28 pm

HAH. *Musk* is the genius innovator. Apple is playing 'me too.' And as far as your assertion that 'foreign sub-contracting to save costs, Tesla probably included,' NO. Tesla has built his success on building nearly everything in-house. He cuts costs that way, and builds vastly better cars and spaceships at vastly lower price points.

Musk would never 'hire Foxconn,' he'd personally learn everything there is to know from scratch about chip design in a few months (like he did with rockets) by grilling his engineers and reading voraciously, then he'd start building them himself, at his new factory, here in the U.S. Same thing he did with rockets, batteries (look up the Gigafactory), and his cars.

Musk isn't some executive, he is a genius engineer. Google "tony stark real life" an literally it comes up with a picture of Elon Musk. Seriously, check it out:



October 12, 2015, 2:06 pm

Musk is without doubt a genius innovator, but bear in mind that as CEO, part of his job to play down competitors. Regardless of his true feelings, he's hardly going to give props to Apple. This is CEO SOP:


Building stuff in-house doesn't automatically cut costs. Quite the reverse - labour is much more expensive in the US than in Asia. I imagine that either Tesla can't find a Chinese factory with the manufacturing capabilities, or more likely, protectionist US car import taxes favour building in the US. Otherwise, it would be idiotic to build cars in the US if competitors (e.g. Apple) could build cars in Taiwan for half the cost.

Whilst I'm sure Musk is a clever guy, I doubt he could "learn everything there is to know about chip design in a few months". He's not Johnny Five (or any other movie character). I agree the Gigafactory is a great move though, and said so in my original comment.

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