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A ton of Tesla employees are getting poached by Apple, which Elon Musk once called the 'Tesla graveyard' (AAPL, TSLA)

Kif Leswing
Tim Cook
  • Tesla and Apple compete for the same talent in fields like software, batteries, supply chain, and mechanical engineering. 
  • So there has always been a lot of employees that jump from one company to the other.
  • But recently, the flow has been going from Tesla to Apple, according to CNBC, which says that the iPhone maker has poached at least 46 employees from Tesla in 2018. 
  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk once said that "if you don't make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple."

Elon Musk once called Apple the "Tesla graveyard."

"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," Musk told German newspaper Handelsblatt in 2015. 

These days, it seems like there is an increasing number of headstones popping up in Cupertino, California.

CNBC reports that Apple is on a hiring spree, poaching "scores" of ex-Tesla employees for a variety of projects, citing better pay at the iPhone giant. 

A Tesla spokesperson seemed to say that was the reason for the attrition, too, in a statement to CNBC: 

"We wish them well. Tesla is the hard path. We have 100 times less money than Apple, so of course they can afford to pay more. We are in extremely difficult battles against entrenched auto companies that make 100 times more cars than we did last year, so of course this is very hard work."

LinkedIn shows 46 people who jumped from the carmaker to Apple so far this year, and there are more that haven't updated their profile. 

One person who hasn't updated his profile is Doug Field, a high-powered executive who oversaw engineering for the Tesla Model 3. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year he planned to take a "six-week sabbatical." 

In August, it came out that he took a job at Apple, returning to the company he had worked before Tesla. Field is said to now be working on Project Titan, Apple's car project. Apple has a team of at least hundreds working on autonomous vehicles, with test vehicles driving on California streets today

But not all the new Tesla hires are working on Project Titan at Apple. Others are working on software, displays, and batteries, according to CNBC.

Tesla has had a tumultuous year, with near-daily controversies, and the stock options that Tesla employees receive may be less desirable given the stock's volatile price — at least compared to Apple, which became the first company to be valued over $1 trillion earlier this month. 

Read the entire report over at CNBC.

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