Tesla Stock Just Scored a Big Victory Over Apple
In Silicon Valley, it’s a dog-eat-dog world. That’s at least how Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is playing the game. Tesla stock was up two percent as of late-morning trading on Friday but, more importantly, the company just stole one of the biggest engineering names in the business from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).
Chris Lattner may not have much fame in the outside world, but in the self-contained bubble of Palo Alto, the guy is a big deal. Lattner is known for creating a number of different programming languages, not the least of which is “Swift,” the code that powers the “iPhone” you may be reading this article on. (Source: “Tesla Is Snatching Apple’s Stars to Make Itself the New Apple,” Wired, January 13, 2017.)
And now he works for Elon Musk, which should make Tesla stock investors very happy.
Lattner is another in a long line of former bigwigs at Apple defecting to the green tech company. Apple Vice President of Mac Engineering Doug Field, Director of Alloy Engineering Rich Heley, and MacBook Air Engineer Matt Casebolt are several of the more notable examples of talented figures jumping ship to work at Tesla in the recent past.
But where Lattner could play a key role in Tesla stock’s future is in building the autonomous vehicle programming that will one day drive you to work (Elon Musk hopes, anyway).
Lattner has been named as head of software engineering for “Autopilot,” Tesla’s autonomous vehicle tech. It’s hoping that Lattner can help rev the engine, so to speak, and get the program really roaring and ready to take over at the wheel.
Which is important to note for investors on two different levels. First, Tesla stock is stacking some serious talent behind its projects, as you would expect. Now there’s no guarantee of success, but the more top-of-their-type players like Lattner that the company can draw—with a proven track record of building excellent tech— the more you have, at the least, better odds.
Next, this shows that Apple, while naturally still a very desirable place to work, seems to be taking a backseat to the innovation madhouse that is Tesla.
This doesn’t mean that Apple stock is doomed and Tesla stock is a guaranteed winner, but it does show that the hierarchy of Silicon Valley might be shifting in favor of Elon Musk and co.
In any case, this is shaping up to be a big year for Tesla stock. Between the much-anticipated release of the mass-consumer-priced “Model 3” car and the development of the “Gigafactory” from its current nascent stage, there won’t be too many dull moments in 2017 for fans (or detractors) of Tesla stock. This raises the eternal question: will this be the year Tesla launches to the stratosphere, or will its ambitions simply prove too lofty to attain?