Business Technology

Elon Musk on Apple being a Tesla graveyard and labeling Jobs "kind of a jerk"

2 min read

26 December 2015

Elon Musk doesn't seem to hold Apple in very high regard anymore. In the past month he suggested Apple was the "Tesla graveyard" and revealed what he thought of former CEO Steve Jobs upon meeting his for the first time.

In February 2015 it was reported that Apple had begun working on an electric car that could be released by 2020. That tidbit of news in itself made headlines, but what many also focused on was the fact that the majority of the new Apple employees come from Ford, Tesla and A123 Systems.

Of course, A123 Systems’s bosses weren’t happy when they found out and launched a lawsuit against Apple, claiming the giant had crafted an “aggressive campaign” to poach engineers from other companies.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, however, recently dismissed such claims in an interview with German newspaper “Handelsblatt”. He said: “Important engineers? Apple hired people we’ve fired. We always call Apple the ‘Tesla graveyard’. If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding.”

When asked whether or not he took Apple seriously as a competitor in the automotive market, Musk replied: “Did you ever take a look at the Apple Watch?”

He added: “No, seriously – 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.’

“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.”

He also described his own work as more “complex” than that of the tech giant.

Of course, the two companies have been in a rivalry for long while, but following on from the interview with “Handelsblatt”, Musk was asked to give his comments about former Apple CEO Steve Jobs. 

“The one time I met Steve Jobs, he was kind of a jerk,” he said. “And everyone who knew him…” 

He explained that when Google’s Larry Page had introduced him to Jobs at party several years ago, Jobs didn’t know who he was.

“The last thing I need is to generate animosity, you know,” he said.

Musk then asked to “withdraw” his comments, adding that it was a “personal experience”.