When headlines started appearing about Apple creating its own car, it seemed like the company might have found its “next big thing.” Many in the media and on Wall Street speculated that the Apple Car might take its place in the company's pantheon of blockbuster products, alongside the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch.
But that doesn’t seem to be the case according to a report from Bloomberg, which indicates that Apple won't be building a car after all:
Apple Inc. has drastically scaled back its automotive ambitions, leading to hundreds of job cuts and a new direction that, for now, no longer includes building its own car, according to people familiar with the project.
Hundreds of members of the car team, which comprises about 1,000 people, have been reassigned, let go, or have left of their own volition in recent months, the people said, asking not to be identified because the moves aren’t public.
New leadership of the initiative, known internally as Project Titan, has re-focused on developing an autonomous driving system that gives Apple flexibility to either partner with existing carmakers, or return to designing its own vehicle in the future, the people also said. Apple has kept staff numbers in the team steady by hiring people to help with the new focus, according to another person.
Apple executives have given the car team a deadline of late next year to prove the feasibility of the self-driving system and decide on a final direction, two of the people said. Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr declined to comment.
Good riddance to the Apple Car
When I first found out that Apple might be doing a car, I have to admit that my first reaction was that it seemed like a stupid idea. Apple has some core skill sets that have made it one of the world’s most valuable companies, but building cars was never one of them.
I know that my perspective on this is a bit different than some of the media cheerleaders out there that want Apple to produce the next earth-shattering new product. But a car? It just seemed so far outside of the company’s core competencies that I never understood why so many people took it seriously.
Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m glad that Apple is working on some sort of automotive initiatives. It makes sense for the company to work toward making its devices and software integrate into automobiles. But that’s a far cry from actually making a car of its own.
Tim Cook hasn’t forgotten the leadership decisions of Steve Jobs
The termination of the Apple Car also means that Tim Cook and his team are still acting within the bounds set by the late Steve Jobs. When he came back to Apple, Jobs ruthless purged many of Apple’s products and pared the number down to a handful of core initiatives.
Jobs’ decision to cut way back on the number of products produced by Apple and his singular ability to say no to new ones stopped Apple from getting sidetracked and wasting its resources. It’s something that has defined Apple’s culture and I’m glad to see the Tim Cook is retaining at least some of Jobs’ clutter-cutting ruthlessness.
Apple will probably get some flack for killing the Apple Car by the usual assortment of media presstitutes, idiot analysts and Wall Street parasites. So what? Those types of people are going to criticize Apple for one thing or another, so it makes no sense for the company to pay attention to them anyway.
Apple did the right thing by killing the Apple Car. Sometimes you have to cut your loses and move on, not everything pans out into the next big thing.
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