In the early 2000s, this sort of situation would have probably sounded a bit far-fetched, but nowadays it seems to be common for carmakers to poach employees from tech companies, and the other way around. Tesla Motors is said to have "stolen" quite a high number of Apple employees in recent years, with Bloomberg mentioning that over a hundred former Apple staffers now work for the electric-car manufacturer. Some Apple executives and engineers are apparently more than happy to jump boat to Tesla, with the carmaker’s current vice president of vehicle programs being formerly in charge of product and hardware design for the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and the iMac, between 2008 and 2013, when Elon Musk persuaded him to come at Tesla Motors.

According to Bloomberg, Apple is equally guilty of trying to poach employees from Tesla, offering $250,000 signing bonuses and 60 percent salary increases. "Apple tries very hard to recruit form Tesla," Musk told the publication. "But so far they’ve actually recruited very few people." In other words, Tesla has been much more successful in luring talent from Apple, albeit no signing bonuses or salary increase promises have been made public. As both companies are based in Sillicon Valley, scouting for talented workforce personnel on the same hunting grounds was bound to create some friction between them at some point, but the situation doesn’t seem to have escalated too much in recent years.

Click past the jump to read more about Tesla-Apple employee war.

Why it matters

I think Tesla’s Elon Musk relates in some ways with the late Steve Jobs, as both company founders have proven to be innovation-driven and have shown a somewhat similar CEO personality over the years. This could be one of the reasons for more Apple employees jumping boat to Tesla than vice versa, but there are others as well. The Bloomberg article mentions that from the 6,000 employees working for Tesla, at least 150 of them have come from Apple, which is not a small number by any count. Some of those who switched allegiance said that Tesla now reminds them of how Apple was 15 years ago, "one of the most innovative companies in Sillicon Valley."

The electric car manufacturer isn’t the only one scouting for talent in the Californian technology hub, but it is likely more successful that traditional automakers, thanks to a simple reason: Its cars are already very much dependent on computers and software, with the Tesla Model S’ operating system even getting wireless updates from the company, just like a smartphone. How will the Tesla-Apple employee battle end? Nobody can really know for sure, but Tesla seems to have the upper hand, thanks to its current small size and future potential as both a carmaker and a technology company.

Tesla Model S P85D

2015 Tesla Model S P85D High Resolution Exterior
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Source: Bloomberg

Alex Oagana
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