Tesla Poaching Apple’s Top Talent

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Apple employees are getting poached… but the chief culprit isn’t Google, or another smartphone maker like Samsung. According to a new Bloomberg report, Tesla has hired more than 150 former Apple employees to fill its various divisions, and it’s almost certainly hunting for more.

Those former Apple employees designed the 17-inch control screen of Tesla’s Model S sedan; fill the car-maker’s legal and engineering teams; and handle crucial aspects of its manufacturing. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is reportedly “enamored” with Apple, taking inspiration from the iPhone maker’s multiyear rise to dominance.

As reported by Bloomberg, Apple is attempting to return the favor, recruiting Tesla employees with “$250,000 signing bonuses and 60 percent salary increases.”

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Aggressive recruiting and poaching of top talent is a constant in the tech industry, where even a handful of skilled engineers and developers can mean the difference between mediocrity and enormous success. “A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players,” Steve Jobs himself said in the late 1990s.

Among top-tier companies such as Apple and Tesla, the competition over talent is even fiercer, given the billions of dollars and reputations at stake. And if traditional automobile manufacturers (along with Google, which is experimenting with self-driving cars) decide they want to develop Tesla-like apps, screens, and engines, the poaching could intensify—which is only good for those tech pros with the necessary skills.

Back in February 2014, Elon Musk told Bloomberg that he had engaged in “conversations” with Apple, while refusing to divulge much more. While some pundits speculated that Apple and Tesla were in talks over a possible acquisition, Musk scuttled that idea. Whatever the topic of discussion, it’s safe to wonder whether the relationship between the companies remains nearly as warm as before.

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