Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, is known as an outspoken type. It’s rare, though, for him to take swipes at other tech companies, much less one that aligns with his own commitment to luxurious aesthetics. But that’s exactly what Musk reportedly did with regard to Apple’s hiring practices.
“They have hired people we’ve fired. We always jokingly call Apple the ‘Tesla Graveyard,’” Musk told a German newspaper, according to The Guardian. “If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding.”
Not satisfied with whacking Apple for taking some of his engineers, Musk challenged the tech company’s rumored desire to ramp up an automobile-manufacturing line: “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.’”
Multiple journalists have suggested that Apple is indeed hard at work on an electric car, which could ship by 2019. Rumors suggest Apple executives have met with government officials about regulations, and that the size of the team working on the vehicle stands at roughly 1,800 people.
Nor is Apple alone in that pursuit: Google is hard at work on autonomous-driving technology, which it could parlay into vehicles, while Uber recently poached dozens of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University’s robotics department for its own next-generation car project.
However Musk meant his comments, it’s clear that engineers and tech pros with automotive experience have more options when it comes to finding jobs, particularly if they’re considered top talents. If Apple does decide to manufacture vehicles, and Tesla ramps up its own plans to mass-produce electric cars, it could lead to a spike in demand for that talent over the next several years.