Tesla CEO Elon Musk had some fighting words for Apple in an interview published last month: Speaking to German newspaper Handelsblatt, Musk said he wasn’t threatened by Apple’s play for the electric car market. He also addressed rumors that Apple is hiring away prominent Tesla engineers, arguing instead that those employees were let go by Tesla.
“They have hired people we’ve fired,” he said. “We always jokingly call Apple the ‘Tesla Graveyard.’ If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding.”
Following months of speculation, the Wall Street Journal reported in September that Apple was working on an electric car–not an autonomous vehicle, as previously thought–slated for 2019. Musk, who unveiled Tesla’s Model X electric SUV last week, is seemingly unperturbed by his company’s new competitor. While he acknowledged that making a car is the obvious next move for Apple, Musk belittled the company’s latest releases.
“For Apple, the car is the next logical thing to finally offer a significant innovation,” he told Handelsblatt. “A new pencil or a bigger iPad alone were not relevant enough.”
And just when you thought he couldn’t throw more shade, Musk took a dig at Apple’s first new product in years.
“Did you ever take a look at the Apple Watch?” he said while laughing, according to The Guardian. “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.’”
Last year, rumors swirled that Apple might acquire Tesla–while Musk did cop to meeting with the company, he dismissed any talk of a merger by saying it was “very unlikely” that Tesla would be sold to anyone.