With rumors still circulating around Apple’s potential entrance into the self-driving, electric car market, the Cupertino tech giant has been relentlessly recruiting employees from the likes of Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla and more. The most recent employee acquisition, however, has been so magnificent, it’s literally caused the company in question, Mission Motors, to file for bankruptcy and shut its doors.
As Reuters reported on Monday, the San Francisco-based Mission Motors filed for bankruptcy in September, 2015, although the company ceased operations in May — after a sizable majority of its top talent fled for positions at Apple. Prior to closing its doors, Mission Motors was an electric motorcycle manufacturer, founded in 2007, which also supplied electric vehicle components both domestically and abroad.
It’s not unlike Apple acquisitions to cause disruptions at other firms. Cupertino’s recruitment of engineers from Tesla, for instance, was reported to have been so significant that it negatively affected Tesla’s internal product development.
Similarly, Apple also recruited key talent from electric battery maker, A123 Systems, which led to a lawsuit between the two companies over alleged “illegal poaching.” The suit, filed by A123, claimed that the company was forced to shut down several projects due to the lost staff, while the poaching contributed to “a large scale battery division at Apple that was meant to compete in that same market.
Key personnel from Mission Motors say they believe it could have stayed in business and simply campaigned for new rounds of funding if they had been able to retain talent, however, they also believe that, recruiting efforts from Apple, specifically, alerted potential investors to back out on that deal.
As it relates to Apple, the company was said to be interested in Mission’s talent centric to “electric drive systems.” No fewer than eight personnel from the electric motorcycle maker have joined the ranks of Apple’s staff since 2012, although, even despite their tendency to do so, Apple never wanted to acquire Mission itself.
Owned primarily by Infield Capital, the remaining assets of Mission Motors are in the process of being sold off, while its electric motorcycle never made it to mass production.
Apple is believed to be secretly working on an electrical vehicle, known only by the name “Project Titan,” which has an estimated release of 2019 to 2020. Conducted earlier this year, an investigation revealed that Apple has leased a “top-secret” facility in Sunnyvale, California, where it’s said the majority of the work on that concept vehicle project has been underway.