Why Is Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk Backtracking on Apple Inc (AAPL) Comments?

Sometimes a burn is just a blatant promotional tactic

Last week, Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk made headlines when he derisively referred to Apple Inc (AAPL) as a “Tesla graveyard,” where employees who didn’t make the cut at his own company would end up after being let go.

tesla stock motors tsla stockMusk went even further, ridiculing the Apple Watch, which debuted to tepid demand this year and has been criticized for its lack of functionality.

Ouch … shots fired!

But while tech enthusiasts might be worked up over the comments, the TSLA CEO seemed to almost retract his statements this weekend with several comments on Twitter (TWTR). Just what is going on, and why is Musk suddenly backtracking?

Remember, Elon Musk Is a Genius … a Marketing Genius

Okay, Musk might be more than a marketing genius. As the CEO of TSLA and SpaceX, chairman of SolarCity (SCTY), and co-founder of PayPal (PYPL), he’s sort of the modern day DaVinci.

The dude knows a thing or two about marketing as well, and his cliff-hanging tweets about the next TSLA announcement can move markets effortlessly. So when Musk dismissed Apple’s plans to build an electric car in an interview with German newspaper Handelsblatt last week, he knew exactly what he was doing.

And he knew that the media would be worked into a fervor as investors got sucked into the TSLA vs. AAPL debate of 2015.

I suspect, too, that ol’ Elon knew his name — and thus the association with TSLA — would figure more prominently in America’s collective consciousness if he cleared up the beef with a few tweets this weekend.

Sure enough, that’s exactly what he did:

Okay, okay…but what about your sniveling at the Apple Watch, bro? Elon issued a half-apology on that front, too:

While the TSLA CEO isn’t known for censoring his true opinion on things — he’s publicly denigrated Toyota’s (TM) plans for a fuel cell car — he also knows that Tesla needs every ounce of publicity it can get in the wake of its Tesla Model X debut.

The Tesla Model X has largely disappointed investors, and the TSLA stock price has plunged more than 10% in the last five trading days as a series of price target reductions and downgrades hammered shares.

Musk is merely trying to keep Tesla’s name on the tip of the public’s tongue as he tries to drum up interest in the much-hyped Model X. You can’t blame him for that … but you also shouldn’t read too much into it.

Just like in the world of hip-hop, we often find that “beefs” in the corporate world are more rooted in promotion than reality.

As of this writing, John Divine was long shares of AAPL stock. You can follow him on Twitter at @divinebizkid or email him at editor@investorplace.com.

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Article printed from InvestorPlace Media, https://investorplace.com/2015/10/tesla-motors-inc-tsla-apple-inc-aapl-elon-musk/.

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