Tesla CEO Elon Musk admitted in a Bloomberg interview that he had engaged in “conversations” with Apple, but refused to disclose the content of those talks.
Rumors have circulated for several days that Apple executives met with Musk last spring about a possible acquisition. An anonymous source with knowledge of those discussions told SFGate.com that discussions included Adrian Perica, who heads up Apple’s M&A division, and possibly Apple CEO Tim Cook. “Both [Tesla and Apple] have built brands based on advanced engineering and stylish user-friendly design,” the newspaper noted. “And each company has become a symbol of Silicon Valley innovation—even among people who don’t own their products.”
But Musk framed an acquisition as “very unlikely,” mostly because it would distract Tesla from its goal of building an affordable electric car. “I don’t see any scenario,” he added, in which Tesla could juggle the issues associated with a takeover while producing vehicles that met his perfectionist standards.
He did suggest, however, that Apple’s iOS and Google Android could find their respective ways into Tesla’s in-vehicle software. Tesla executives once considered integrating an early version of Android into the company’s first electric cars, but the software ultimately wasn’t ready to serve as an automotive application. Nonetheless, Musk could see iOS or Android within the context of a “projected mode or emulator” that would allow someone to use applications while driving, although “that’s peripheral to the goal of Tesla.”
In addition to its “mass market” third-generation sedan, Tesla is hard at work on the Model X, an electric SUV. Tesla claimed the need to deliver “great form and great functionality” has led to delays, but that the final version of the Model X will be eons ahead of the prototype unveiled a few years ago.