Steve Jobs Would Be Proud Of Tesla … Apple’s And Google’s Strategy Differs

4 months ago by EVANNEX 18

Tesla

Tesla Vehicle Lineup Via Preisert Design

TESLA’S ECOSYSTEM STRATEGY DIFFERS FROM AUTOMOTIVE PROJECTS SURFACING AT APPLE AND GOOGLE

This week, reports emerged that Google and Apple formed alliances with rental car companies, Avis and Hertz. Both of these tech giants are revealing more about their strategies to become part of a self-driving, car sharing future. However, their disparate tactics contradict Elon Musk’s unified approach.

Tesla

Model S and Model X at the factory in Fremont, California

Eric Johnsa at The Street* reports that, “Both deals, however, shine a light on how Google and Apple seem to be limiting their autonomous driving work to developing the hardware and software that allow a car to drive itself, and perhaps the software and services that consumers seated within such a vehicle would use. The strategy represents quite the contrast with what Tesla Inc. is trying to pull off.”

Furthermore, “There’s a big difference between cars that can take over from human drivers in certain conditions, as Tesla cars supporting the company’s Autopilot 2.0 system can, and ones that can fully replace drivers and be marketed by rental agencies as such.”

*This article comes to us courtesy of Evannex (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Matt Pressman.

On the one hand, Google’s Waymo chief John Krafcik revealed, “We can imagine this [technology] in ridesharing, in transportation, trucking, logistics even personal use vehicles and licensing with automakers.” On the other hand, “Apple now seems to be thinking along similar lines [as Google].”

Though its car project, codenamed Titan, initially planned to bring a fully-fledged electric car to market, reports over the past 12 months have signaled that it’s focusing for now on autonomous driving systems, and perhaps an in-car operating system. Two weeks ago, Tim Cook confirmed Apple is ‘focusing on [developing] autonomous systems’ for cars.”

Tesla Model S refresh

The Silicon Valley electric automaker plans to attempt a fully autonomous cross-country trip by year’s end

Yet, “Tesla, by contrast, wants to control the autonomous driving user experience from start to finish. Its Autopilot systems go into Tesla cars, which in turn run on Tesla software, are sold at Tesla retail stores, and are serviced at Tesla service centers. And last year, Elon Musk signaled that Tesla could one day run an autonomous ride-sharing fleet that Tesla owners could loan their vehicles to when they don’t need them. Tesla’s approach to autonomous driving has a lot in common with Apple’s approach to the smartphone, tablet and PC markets. Whereas Google and (ironically) Apple’s strategies have more in common with Google and Microsoft’s.”

Although, to be fair, “looking at Android’s manic growth and Google’s successful efforts to monetize it can vouch, an open platform that effectively addresses a big new market’s needs can become a monster… even if the early going is messy.”

Johnsa surmises, “Ultimately, Tesla may end up being the iOS or macOS of autonomous driving, while Waymo and one or more other companies will be its Android or Windows. In the short-term, Tesla, whose Autopilot 2.0 systems are capable of some pretty impressive feats even if they can’t yet do full autonomy, arguably has an edge. Over the long run, things might be much more competitive.”

Only time will tell.

Above: Details emerge about a new alliance between Google’s Waymo and Avis (Youtube: Bloomberg)

That said, Tesla’s tightly-controlled ecosystem seems like something Steve Jobs would applaud. “As anyone paying attention to Apple’s bottom line and customer loyalty rates can vouch, there’s a lot of value to taking an end-to-end approach in terms of [bringing] compelling new products to market quickly, creating a seamless user experience and deriving a ton of long-term financial value from loyal customers.”

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*Source: The Street

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX, Check out the site here.

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18 responses to "Steve Jobs Would Be Proud Of Tesla … Apple’s And Google’s Strategy Differs"

  1. Mint says:

    I really dislike it when people say Tesla is like Apple.

    Tesla actually builds things. Their biggest contribution is betting the farm on battery production and research, and with the Model 3, their hardware is about as American as it gets. They put all their margins and investor funds into reinvestment. Tesla is also going into new ventures like solar panel manufacturing and utility ancillary services. Their standards and patents are (supposedly, at least) open for others to use.

    Apple was always about vision and execution as opposed to innovation. They outsource all production, and make gargantuan profits yet do almost nothing with them. They keep their standards closed, and patent/defend absurdly simple ideas.

    Really, the only similarity is that Tesla’s Supercharger network is a bit like Apple’s app store in that all competitors are way behind and it’s giving Tesla a huge head start.

    1. James P Heartney says:

      “Apple was always about vision and execution as opposed to innovation.” Under Jobs, the vision part justified everything; the products really were that groundbreaking. All modern GUIs and all smartphones are based on Jobs’ ideas.

      Post-Jobs, Apple is sitting on its laurels and largely failing to come up with anything of note, so I’ll give you that point WRT the current Apple.

      Tesla understands that it’s all one ecosystem, and the only way to be sure it’s done right is to design it all to work together. (And charge a premium price because the whole system actually works as one.)

      1. Michael Will says:

        Remember when people stood around showing each other pinch zoom on the iPhone ?

        Innovation and risk taking.

        Model 3 will be just like that, especially outside of California were not everybody already knows somebody with a tesla

      2. energymatters says:

        Hate to be a historian here but the “innovations” you credit to Steve Jobs came from Xerox Parc. (See the Xerox Alto PC from the 1970s). Jobs saw them in operation during the Apple Lisa development and adopted them wholesale without an agreement with Xerox.

        He did do a good job of the marketing though.

        As Balzac said:
        “At the root of every great fortune there was a crime.”

        1. James P Heartney says:

          This is a common pseudo-point (saying that the Mac GUI is just a version of the Xerox PARC interfaces that he “stole”). Pretty much all of that is false. Actual story here:

          https://web.stanford.edu/dept/SUL/sites/mac/parc.html

          TL;DR: Apple didn’t steal anything (there was a stock swap and an agreement in place before the meeting), and the interfaces PARC had were much less refined than what Apple ended up with. Many of the basic concepts used by all modern GUIs were indeed invented at Apple.

          1. SJC says:

            Jobs almost crashed Apple with his early MAC arrogance. A small mono screen with a floppy where he angered everyone working on it. No wonder he was tossed out.

      3. Mint says:

        Okay, my point about reinvestment applies more to post-Jobs, but he was still against trying things like a stylus and large screen and touchscreen Mac.

        I disagree that GUIs were his ideas. He got them from Xerox, and IMO they were rather inevitable ideas anyway. I think the only genius GUI idea from Apple was the click wheel, and that only had fleeting relevance.

        His biggest products, by far, were the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, and all were almost entirely about polishing existing ideas and executing with more resources and fewer mistakes. The iPhone, of course, deserves the most credit. Other companies were developing similar products, so we’d have seen the same outcome eventually, but Apple was way ahead of the curve with a far more comprehensive vision, and reaped the benefits. The iPod and iPad, however, were about polish and marketing (and muscle with iTunes), IMO.

        So aside from the iPhone home run, I don’t see a huge difference between pre-Jobs and post-Jobs Apple.

        I certainly see a gargantuan difference between the approaches of Apple and Tesla.

    2. sveno says:

      I think when you look at tech companies in general then they are very similar to outsiders. How they present themselves to customers. How they want to build an entire ecosystem.

      I wouldn’t go so far as to say Tesla is Apple but makes EVs, batteries and solar products instead.

      I’d wager Apple would invest major sums of money if they had great plans – the market they are operating is considered mature now. Personal computers are commodity items. 10 year old computers do office tasks just fine.

      Apple doesn’t do hardware manufacturing, true but neither does Tesla when it comes to its electronics. They both would have to own factories in China and neither sees that as a smart move. Unless you are building low volume specialized devices, it really makes no sense to manufacture electronics and ICs elsewhere – your supply chain consisting of hundreds of companies would still be in China.

    3. Chris O says:

      The other similarity is the “ecosystem” approach mentioned in the article: buying Apple/Tesla means buying into an elite ownership/user experience with great design, performance, retail experience, convenience, status, cool/gadget factor.

      Generally products people connect to on an emotional level.

      1. Ahldor says:

        Yes, but don’t you dare do anything outside what is thought out for you…

        1. Chris O says:

          That does pertain to Apple, the Apple ecosystem is a prison of non compatible software and hardware but I don’t see how it pertains to Tesla. Tesla will even provide you with a connector to hook up with inferior third party charging systems.

          1. Robert Middleswarth says:

            For a price they will provide you was a standard cable. But like Apple they doen’t provide you with something based on a standard. In so many ways Tesla is a modern apple.

  2. Mister G says:

    I came to this site to read about model 3 delivery what happened????

    1. Michael Will says:

      It’s not the 28th ?

      1. Jay Cole says:

        MG probably means news of Model 3 #0001 coming off the line yesterday as suggested earlier by Musk “Expecting to complete SN1 on Friday”.

        However, no confirmation or online PR on that front (we know, we stayed up late ~3am ET waiting on it before we closed the shop for the night).

        No worries MG, when it happens, we will pass it along, (=

  3. mx says:

    Apple is simply NOT investing enough in future product. That cash horde could have been put into good use.
    Vertical Integration.
    The innovation flows from every step of the manufacturing process.

  4. Chris O says:

    Looks like Big Tech figures the money is in the software not in the sheet metal. Probably rightly so. The traditional car business will cease to exist, traditional carmakers will be relegated to the role of coachbuilders installing commoditized third party electric powertrains in “cars” that are no longer really cars but more like pods, mobile living spaces where people dwell until they reach their destination.

    Could be a messy transition, better stay out of it and focus on where the profits are: autonomous driving hardware and software and new operating/ownership models that level 5 autonomous driving will unlock.

  5. Bill Howland says:

    Musk makes similiar amounts of money to JOBS. Hopefully he is nicer to his employees than Jobs was. Jobs would hold press conferences to state: “These rubber feet (or some other unimportant part) were made by slave-labor in CHINA, therefore in the future Apple will have no futher dealings with them!” all to great applause from the faithful.

    Of course, so was the critical motherboard, but THAT part would not be changed.

    I’ve owned a Tesla, but I’ve never owned an Apple. I discovered I’m not rich enough to afford either, and both products are for those more well-healed than I am.

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