In a recent interview, Tesla CEO Elon Musk downplayed the number of ex-Tesla employees that now work for Apple, saying those were engineers Tesla no longer wanted.
“Important engineers? They have hired people we’ve fired,” Musk said of Apple in an interview with German newspaper Handelsblatt, as reported by Apple Insider. “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.”
When asked about rumors that Apple is building an electric vehicle, Musk didn’t sound intimidated.
“Did you ever take a look at the Apple Watch?” he replied.
Musk talked more about Apple’s speculated decision to be investing in the research and development of an electric car.
“It’s good that Apple is moving and investing in this direction. 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,” said Musk. “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.”
Musk later elaborated on these comments through one of his usual outlets: Twitter.
These comments are far from the first links between Apple and Tesla. Earlier this year, Tesla mocked the Apple Watch indirectly when the company announced (in an April Fool’s Joke) that it was releasing the Tesla W watch.
Musk has even previously set Apple as a benchmark for success when he said that by 2025 “our market cap would be basically the same as Apple’s is today.”
What didn’t come through in Musk’s German interview is that Tesla has also hired ex-Apple employees. Doug Field, currently the vice president of Engineering for Tesla, previously worked at Apple for five years – first as the VP of Product Design, then later as the VP for Mac Hardware Engineering.