Car crash: Apple vs. Volkswagen

Both these versions of our automotive future can't be true.

"I believe Apple is going to be involved in cars on a grand scale. I don’t believe they are going after 50,000 units like Tesla. I think Apple is going to try for 2 million units within a very short time... I am now leaning more towards Apple introducing a product/service that might not even launch in the U.S. initially. We could see a Chinese product and service bundled and released in China, and a different product/service bundle released in the United States." —Asymcar's Horace Dediu in an interview with UBS' Steve Milunovich.

“This is the world our developers live in: 1.) Volkswagen generates exclusive ecosystems. 2.) Volkswagen is the gatekeeper to these ecosystems. 3.) We have many millions of customers around the world, and they will line up to become part of these ecosystems. 4.) The ecosystems are self-learning. 5.) We will control both the hardware, and the data. We will starve and eventually take over Apple.” —Volkswagen digitization strategy as laid out by Matthias Müller, the new CEO, and summarized by a VW manager to Forbes




  1. David Emery said:
    Sounds like VW is in the same mode of self-delusion that Microsoft and Blackberry were in. That’s not to say that Apple can’t get into that mode (see the now famous recent Marco Arment article). But for VW, of all companies, to say “We will bury you” after their massive corporate cheating scandal is particularly rich. This company deluded itself to believe it could lie to the world and never get caught.

    This is a good read on ‘corporate culture’ including self-delusion:

    May 24, 2016
  2. Turley Muller said:
    I would have to think Apple’s data is a lot smarter than VW’s. Apple has a lot of work to do in terms of cars, VW has a lot of work to do in terms of software and data. It’s way to early to place much importance on either statement. In terms of self-learning, data is the most important ingredient. Way more data can be harvested from smartphones than an automobile.

    May 24, 2016
    • Walley Francis said:
      Regardless of any opinion of the substance of this, I believe that “take over” would be better translated as “overtake” meaning that VW would surpass Apple, not take it over.


      May 24, 2016
    • Jonathan Mackenzie said:
      Hah. I can picture VW’s Data in action:
      “Congratulations,VW Driver, you travelled 37 miles today. Total pollution: 0.”

      Re: “Way more data can be harvested from smartphones than an automobile.”

      My assumption has been that Apple will see a car as just another form of personal computer. In essence it will be a smart phone with wheels.

      May 24, 2016

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