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TheStreet Open House

Would Apple Acquire Tesla?

Stocks in this article: TSLA AAPL GM F

Perhaps Apple has some truly innovative aspect to the TV business that the current -- or a future -- separate $99 Apple TV box can't somehow accomplish. Some of these arguments were also speaking against Apple entering the smartphone business in 2007, so you can't be sure.

TVs require fortunes of working capital, as well as store shelf space. They are costly to deliver and install as necessary. Why would Apple go through that sort of pain, when a box and an HDMI cord can give the user seemingly all the benefits anyway?

Ready Made

Now, contrast the pain and low margins of the TV set business with Apple acquiring Tesla. What are the ways Apple could add value to the car, that is difficult to do in an arms-length scenario? I don't have the space to go through them all in detail in this article, but consider the following bullet points:

  • Maps and traffic data
  • Self-driving cars, (hey, Google!)
  • iCould-based entertainment
  • Location-based information
  • Camera technology
  • Speech control
  • Yes, some of these advancements will surely continue to happen even in an arms-length scenario, but does this look any less logical than the TV business?

    Consider these signs and arguments for Apple acquiring Tesla instead:

  • Apple and Tesla are located almost next door to each other
  • Tesla is opening stores in mostly the same locations as Apple
  • Tesla is already copying Apple's sales and service model
  • Tesla's head of sales and ownership experience, George Blankenship, was Apple's head of real estate
  • Tesla already took Apple's screen/icon look and made it even better
  • Working capital to fund a TV business could easily exceed acquiring all of Tesla
  • Smartphones, tablets and cars are all products of profound personal statement. Everyone knows what they have, and why. They are all lifestyle statements. Television sets? Not so much.

    If you are in the market for an $80,000 car today -- and which engineer at Facebook or Apple today isn't? -- the Tesla Model S is a lot more appealing than some Mercedes S-class or BMW 750.

    And if you are Apple, with $100 billion burning in the bank, shelling out for a $4 billion market-cap company of iconic importance to the future of technology sure sounds a lot more appealing than stamping out low-margin television sets.

    This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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