Apple, the technology company known for a few decades of market disruptions, appears set to disrupt yet another industry, and those in the automobile industry are showing their fear of Apple’s design prowess and resources.
Speaking of human resources, news on the streets tells us that Apple’s new automobile project already has hundreds of employees and many of them came from the car industry’s latest darling, Tesla. What does Tesla’s CEO say about that?
Hubris, Meet Bravado
As a technology company with a real personality, Apple and its executives, dating back to the early years in the 1970s, have always had a sense of hubris; sometimes defined as self-confidence bordering on arrogance.
Well, hubris infested technology company, meet false bravado infected car company. Tesla’s CEO, the seldom quiet and demur Elon Musk, the guy who’s a billionaire on paper, the head of a company that loses about $5,000 on every car sold, doesn’t like it when Apple, the most profitable company on planet earth, pilfers Tesla’s employees.
Or, does he?
Apparently Apple has been hiring the wrong Tesla employees. The bad ones. Or, as Musk refers to them, engineers the company had already fired, because, you know, they were not as good as the engineers they kept.
We always jokingly called Apple the ‘Tesla Graveyard.’ If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple.’ I’m not kidding.
Did you ever look at the Apple Watch? (an Apple car would be) the next logical thing to finally offer a significant innovation. A new pencil or bigger iPad alone were not relevant enough.
Why can’t we all just get along? Is there really a need for such pettiness? Or, is Musk demonstrating his seemingly obvious fear that Apple will, indeed, enter the electric car business with a product that is better than Tesla’s highly acclaimed Model S, but cost less?
To paraphrase Shakespeare, ‘The Musk doth protest too much, methinks.’
Today, Apple will sell somewhere around half a million new iPhones. Half a million. 500,000. Today. The profits on a single iPhone exceed the profits on a Tesla Model S. Actually, all of them ever sold, because Tesla loses around $5,000 per car sold by spending more money than it makes in profits each quarter. That’s not Apple’s model.
Those who would compete against Apple would do well to show a little respect, some class, and humility, if only in public. Why? Apple’s reputation of disrupting one industry after another should be a warning, but it’s often ignored, and mostly to the peril of those already in an industry which Apple targets.
Despite Musk’s obvious taunts, Apple CEO Tim Cook has remained reserved, restrained, and disciplined without a public response. I hope Cook stays that way and shows the very class that Apple’s competitors through the years have not.
They laughed at Apple’s retail stores. They laughed at the iPod. They laughed at the iTunes Music Store. They laughed at the Mac’s minuscule marketshare. They laughed at the iPhone, the iPad, the Watch, and now Apple TV, each as being too little too late to have any impact on their respective industry segments.
Who’s laughing now?
Mr. Musk, one word. Chill.
UPDATE: Obviously trying to avoid an Ed Colligan moment, Tesla’s PR hacks had a talk with Mr. Musk who probably sprained an ankle back peddling on his smack talk and welcomed Apple to the electric car community. Uh huh. Sure.