Imagine having the chance a few years ago to buy a company that is, today, worth over $600 billion (and counting) at one-tenth of its current value. Sounds like a dream offer, right? Who would skip out on that? That would be Apple, another company that is at the peak of its success.
Apple revolutionized the telecommunications industry with its first iPhone. Perhaps Apple was blinded by its own ego to the point that it thought Tesla was a company that would never succeed. Well, we will probably never know why Apple CEO Tim Cook refused to even have a meeting with Elon Musk. But that’s the story.
During the darkest days of the Model 3 program, I reached out to Tim Cook to discuss the possibility of Apple acquiring Tesla (for 1/10 of our current value). He refused to take the meeting.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 22, 2020
Don’t you find it strange that on the very day Tesla was added to the S&P 500, everyone was talking about Apple thanks to a Reuters report? The rumor is that Apple will start the production of a self-driving electric car by 2024. Every source that was cited in the article was anonymous.
Tesla has more cars in space than Apple has in its lab. Just saying …
— Alternate Jones (@AlternateJones) December 21, 2020
While the idea of Apple being successful as an EV maker and becoming a Tesla ally to help it on its mission is a more positive outlook, deep down, I feel that Apple, as with the other carmakers, won’t be as successful as Tesla. Perhaps Apple will actually be the Android version of Tesla.
Tesla sells a computer on wheels for $54,000
Apple sells a computer on wheels for $54,000
One tiny difference 😉 pic.twitter.com/11LnAjMOno
— Owen Sparks 🌎 (@OwenSparks_) December 22, 2020
I don’t doubt that Apple brand enthusiasts who currently drive gasoline-powered vehicles would love an Apple car for a moment. Apple would be great at getting its customers to make the switch to electric if it had an EV. But it seems that Apple missed the flight here. Tim Cook had the opportunity to buy Tesla and he wouldn’t even give Elon Musk the time of day.
TESLA IS GOING DOWN TODAY BECAUSE APPLE SAYS THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE A CAR BY 20 24 ARE YOU KIDDING ME THEY DON'T KNOW THE FIRST THING ABOUT BUILDING NONE ELECTRIC VEHICLE PHONES AND COMPUTERS BUT I BETTER STICK TO THAT pic.twitter.com/rtAo4wGvOI
— John T (@JohnThaxton8) December 22, 2020
An Apple–Tesla merger could have saved Tesla during a tough time, but in the end, it did end well for Tesla — which is surely better off learning the lessons it learned to get to where it is now. I’m sure Tim Cook is probably wincing at the past mistake of not even allowing Elon to meet with him that day.
Whether or not Apple actually planned to release this rumor on the day of Tesla’s inclusion, as some have surmised on Twitter, the fact of the matter remains: Tesla is the leader of the auto industry and its leadership is making new changes that have never even been thought of before.
More irony in the Tesla-Apple saga:
Doug Field, who led the early Model 3 program (which was botched, forcing @elonmusk to seek a buyout from Apple), is now key to Apple’s EV effort.
— Disruption Research (@DisruptResearch) December 23, 2020
Suddenly, thanks to Tesla, the American auto industry isn’t completely dead and gone from its glory days. This is what innovation does. However, not many leaders of this industry are happy about this — some seem to be very bitter.
Bitterness Over Tesla’s Success
Back in November, Tesla’s market value soared past $600 billion, making it the sixth-largest company in the S&P 500 index. This year, Tesla shares gained over 600%, compared to the S&P 500 growing 14%. Tesla’s rise has triggered competitors, such as Toyota’s president, Akio Toyoda, to make statements that reflect the depth of his bitterness — at being overtaken by Tesla as the world’s most valuable automaker despite Tesla producing far fewer cars.
In one instance, Toyoda started a food fight by using the restaurant industry to shame Tesla. “I am hesitant to say this — Tesla’s business, if you want to use the analogy, is like that of a kitchen and a chef,” he said. “They have not created a real business in the real world yet. They are trying to trade recipes. The chef is saying ‘Our recipe is going to become the standard of the world in the future!’ At Toyota, we have a real kitchen and a real chef too and are creating the dishes already. There are customers, who are very picky about what they like to eat, sitting in front of us, and eating our dishes already.”
In a more recent instance, Toyoda falsely claimed that electric vehicles could increase emissions and collapse the auto industry. I think what he meant to say is that Tesla vehicles could collapse Toyota’s business over time.
$1 Trillion On Tesla’s Horizon?
Colin Rusch, managing director and senior analyst Oppenheimer, joined a Yahoo! Finance Live session to talk about exactly this. Yahoo! Finance’s Brian Sozzy asked, “Colin, what has to happen for Tesla to reach the trillion-dollar market cap level? We’re not seeing that discussion being started right now, but if their 2021 — it looks like what they’ve done in 2020 just in terms of the stock-price performance, in terms of profits, in terms of narrative on conference calls, do you think they hit that next year or what would get them there?”
Rusch pointed out that Tesla’s autonomous vehicle program is the key reason for Tesla’s success with its stock price.
“You know, we’ve got to get a little bit more information from them. But, you know, really, at the end of the day, you know, I think the elevated levels on the stock and the potential for it to go higher is going to be driven by their autonomous-vehicle program. You know, they’ve got almost a million vehicles on the road right now collecting data. That’s a huge advantage in terms of the intelligence of their system and the learning process. And I think as we see the disruption of the transportation, materials, and power markets continue forward and Tesla being a leader across those markets, really that AI functionality and their leadership around autonomy is going to be the thing that would drive the stock higher.”
Tesla Short Sellers Giving Up?
Teslarati recently reported that Tesla (TSLA) short sellers have pretty much admitted defeat. New data from Ortex Analytics showed that short interest in Tesla hit record lows during Tesla’s first trading days on the S&P 500 Index. Not so long ago, Tesla’s stock was the most shorted stock in Wall Street history, but short sellers did not escape the wrath of 2020, which favored Tesla overall. The new research from Ortex Analytics showed that bets against Tesla fell to 2017 numbers. Perhaps an estimated $28.5 billion in losses is what made them see the light.
Only those who truly believed in Tesla’s success from the beginning could have predicted its dominance in the many industries it has changed. Perhaps, at the time, Tim Cook felt he was doing the right thing for Apple. However, he could have answered Elon’s call instead of refusing to see him. I’m sure today he and Apple’s shareholders are hiding their pained expressions behind the rumor of an Apple car — to pretty much lick the wound of missing out on the world’s most valuable automaker, which isn’t just an automaker anymore.
prediction: apple v tesla will be a heavyweight fight for the ages. place your bets. buckle your seatbelts. pic.twitter.com/Oa5NiOo0cM
— bill lee 🏴☠️ (@westcoastbill) December 22, 2020
A lesson to learn from this is that no matter how successful you are, always be humble and kind. That person you are dissing could one day upend your success. If you have the chance to make that person an ally, do so.
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