Elon Musk calls Apple ‘Tesla’s graveyard’, criticises company’s innovation

9 Oct 2015

In what would appear to be a major slight towards Apple and Tim Cook, Tesla’s founder Elon Musk has said Apple’s recent hiring policy has turned it into ‘Tesla’s graveyard’.

Elon Musk has been familiarising himself with his European workforce and talking with politicians on the continent this week, but did not shy away from putting the boot in against a soon-to-be rival in the electric vehicle (EV) market.

Earlier this year, the two companies were effectively engaged in a ‘poaching war’, whereby Tesla had hired at least 150 employees from Apple. The latter company went to great efforts to try and lure them back under the wing of Tim Cook.

But now, speaking with the German newspaper Handelsblatt – via 9to5Mac – Musk has dismissed the idea that they are re-hiring Tesla’s best staff.

“They have hired people we’ve fired,” Musk said to the newspaper. “We always jokingly call Apple the ‘Tesla graveyard.’ If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple.”

Big step up from phones to EVs

Of course, since the beginning of this year, it has been known that Apple is working on developing its own EV, which the company has pencilled in for a release year of 2019.

To do this, sources within Apple had said that they plan to triple their staff numbers for its EV development department, despite 600 staff already being assigned to the project.

Given that Tesla is one of the most established EV brands, it is then unsurprising that Apple is trying to poach some of its best and brightest.

In what would appear to be a sideswipe in Apple’s direction, Musk said that he believes it’s good that Apple are looking at developing an EV, but that it would be a step up from creating gadgets.

“It’s good that Apple is moving and investing in this direction, Musk said. But cars are very complex compared to phones or smartwatches. You can’t just go to a supplier like Foxconn and say, ‘build me a car’. But, for Apple, the car is the next logical thing to finally offer a significant innovation. A new pencil or a bigger iPad alone were not relevant enough.”

Elon Musk image via Heisenberg Media/Flickr

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic