Apple was considering a takeover of Tesla, and even held talks with Elon Musk, The New York Times reported.

The publication published this information after the announcement that Apple was closing an electric car project that it had been working on for about 10 years.

This is not the first time we’ve heard about possible merger talks between Apple and Tesla. According to 9to5Mac, in December 2020, Elon Musk confirmed that he had contacted Tim Cook to discuss the possibility of Apple acquiring Tesla during the development of the Model 3. According to Elon Musk, Tim Cook refused to meet.

Six months later, it was suggested that around the same time, Tim Cook proposed to Elon Musk the idea that Apple should acquire Tesla. Reportedly, Elon Musk was interested in this offer, but on one condition: he would not be the CEO of Tesla, but of Apple in its entirety.

Obviously, the parties did not reach an agreement. According to people familiar with the negotiations, the company ultimately decided that building its own car made more sense than buying and integrating another business.

During the development, the company changed four different CEOs and conducted several rounds of layoffs. However, the project was scrapped largely because the development of software and algorithms for a car with autonomous driving functions proved to be too difficult.

According to anonymous sources, the launch of its own car development was largely a way to retain employees. The company had just finished working on the Apple Watch, and many engineers were eager to start working on something new. Tim Cook approved the project in part to prevent engineers from leaving for Tesla.

The employees also shared the opinion that the project was not initially intended to be a success. If an Apple car ever appeared on the market, it would likely cost at least $100,000. And it would still bring in a meager profit compared to smartphones and other technology. In addition, Apple’s car would have to compete with Tesla, which has long since taken over the market.

Steve Zadeski, who initially led the development, wanted to create an electric car that would compete with Tesla. Jony Ive, formerly Apple’s chief designer, also wanted to create a self-driving car, which, according to members of the development team, was quite realistic.

The group developed a number of new technologies, including a windshield that could reflect the direction of a turn and a roof made of a special polymer that reduces heat from the sun.

In the following years, two more leaders took over the car. Doug Field, a former Tesla executive, laid off more than 200 employees working on the project as he focused on creating a self-driving system. Then Kevin Lynch, who replaced him in previous years, changed the company’s plans and returned to the original idea of creating an electric car.

Earlier this year, Apple’s management decided that it would be better to use the company’s time to work on generative artificial intelligence rather than the car, the company said in an internal meeting on Tuesday.

The company said that some team members of the automotive team will be transferred to work on artificial intelligence. Some of the team will also have to apply for other positions within the company.