The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that Apple’s head of mergers and acquisitions met last spring with Elon Musk, the CEO of electric car-maker Tesla. While the newspaper was careful to note there’s no evidence of a deal in the works, or even any confirmation the alleged meeting took place, the idea of Apple and Tesla working together isn’t as far-fetched as it might initially seem.
Tech firms like Apple and Google are seeking to expand their presence into new markets as demand for smartphones and tablets begins to plateau. The auto industry, meanwhile, is counting on new technologies to make vehicles safer, more affordable and more fun to drive.
Apple and Tesla share plenty of other similarities, too. Both are based in Silicon Valley and are known for nurturing a culture of innovation. And, back in 2010, Tesla hired the man who designed Apple’s stores to create a similar retail concept for Tesla. More recently, Tesla hired Doug Field to be its new head of vehicle programs. Field was previously a vice-president of hardware engineering at Apple who led the development of such products as the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and iMac. He has also worked for Ford Motor Co.
Some analysts have argued that an Apple-Tesla partnership, or an outright purchase of the electric carmaker by cash-rich Apple, could help put reinvigorate the North American automotive industry by creating a new, cutting-edge global player.