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Apr 12, 2001
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Mission-Motors-EM-250x188.jpg
Electric motorcycle startup Mission Motors has ceased operations after losing some of its key talent to competitors such as Apple, and failing to develop a viable business model, according to Reuters.
"Mission had a great group of engineers, specifically electric drive expertise," [former CEO Derek] Kaufman said. "Apple knew that - they wanted it, and they went and got it."
The report claims about six engineers from the San Francisco-based startup were recruited by Apple since last autumn, and the company's assets are now controlled by its largest investor Infield Capital.

Mission Motorcycles, a related company created to sell the electric motorcycles, is reportedly in the process of filing for bankruptcy.

Apple never attempted to acquire Mission Motors outright, according to Kaufman, instead drawing from its pool of specialized engineers working on electric drive systems and battery algorithms for charging and cooling.

Mission Motors was founded in 2007 with ambitions to create a world-class electric motorcycle, and it launched an early prototype in 2013 to positive reviews. The company was reportedly often cash strapped, however, and some investors backed out as engineers left for competitors.

Mission Motors never released an electric motorcycle for sale to consumers.

Apple has been rumored to be working on an electric vehicle, codenamed "Project Titan," for several months, with its secretive automotive team reportedly including former employees from Tesla, Ford, GM, A123 Systems, Samsung and other competitors. Earlier this year, it reached a settlement with A123 in a poaching lawsuit.

Article Link: Electric Motorcycle Startup Mission Motors Ceases Operations After Losing Talent to Apple
 

MH01

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Feb 11, 2008
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Damn! thought this was about apple doing a motorbike!
 
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Lesser Evets

macrumors 68040
Jan 7, 2006
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That's an interesting excuse.

Mission Motors is/was a tiny company with a tinker-toy product. They were showing it off as a fast-speed race bike at auto shows or events, but for years and years they have been working it up and effectively going no where. The 2009 spec was for a bike that could go 150mph and 150 miles on a charge. I know electric vehicles, and that bike could definitely reach 150mph, but realistically it would never get 150 miles/charge unless all the stars are in alignment and the driver does some amazing control that makes the battery work perfectly. I would bet it was more like 80 miles of "normal" use.

For a commuter bike, that's wonderful. Who commutes on motorcycles these days and wants this bike? Almost none--the market would be a sliver of a sliver. Who would want a bike with that kind of limit as a sports bike? Almost none. When competing against gas bikes, this bike doesn't fare well in any specs. It was a good project to get a paycheck for a few years, and little else.
 
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foobarbaz

macrumors 6502a
Nov 29, 2007
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795
Apple never attempted to acquire Mission Motors outright, according to Kaufman, instead drawing from its pool of specialized engineers working on electric drive systems and battery algorithms for charging and cooling.

As it should be. If the company's only value was their employees' talents, the employees should benefit by getting great offers, not the investors.
 
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cogitodexter

macrumors regular
Jun 22, 2009
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Naaaaaaarfolk, England
I could really go for an Apple e-bike for local use. Not so sure about a car - range issues, lack of charging infrastructure, etc - unless they go for Flow-Cell based tech, which uses 'pre charged' liquid electrolytes that can be replaced in a filling-station-like way. Even that still requires filling station infrastructure to accommodate it, but it's less of a culture shift for the end user and the suppliers.
 
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Lucky736

macrumors 6502a
Jan 18, 2004
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519
US
Apple is the Big Bad Wolf everyone complained Microsoft was years ago. The only difference is Apple is far more unethical than Microsoft ever was in going about it's business when it came to situations like what this article is about. Screw everyone over and try to pay them off after like A123. One day it will bite them in the butt again.
 
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azentropy

macrumors 68030
Jul 19, 2002
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Surprise
As it should be. If the company's only value was their employees' talents, the employees should benefit by getting great offers, not the investors.

I disagree here. Where would Apple be today of Mike Markkula hadn't been an investor?
Startups like this need venture capitalists and those willing to take a chance with their money for payoff later.
 
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darwen

macrumors 6502a
Apr 12, 2005
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As it should be. If the company's only value was their employees' talents, the employees should benefit by getting great offers, not the investors.

This. So much of this.

This is a disgruntled CEO speaking about his failed dream. Truth is, his asset wasn't tangible. I'm happy for any individuals that walked over his corpse, and used this startup as a stepping stone in their career.

If this guy really has some killer idea, he shouldn't have any issue getting it off the ground with other employees. I'm not saying that it's easy to fill the empty seats, I'm just saying that your company shouldn't be ruined by a few staff members leaving.
 
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2457282

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Dec 6, 2012
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An Apple car is cool, but an Apple iCycle would be pretty neat.
Either an electric bicycle or motorcycle. I would personally be more interested in the electric bicycle for city transportation. I have been looking at a couple of them already. Having sold all my cars as a city dweller, the iCar is not really something I am interested in. Of course this is my personal use case. From an Apple perspective it does seem a bit out of their focus area no matter what, but it will be interesting to see what they do.
 
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neuropsychguy

macrumors 65816
Sep 29, 2008
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Apple is the Big Bad Wolf everyone complained Microsoft was years ago. The only difference is Apple is far more unethical than Microsoft ever was in going about it's business when it came to situations like what this article is about. Screw everyone over and try to pay them off after like A123. One day it will bite them in the butt again.

Blaming Apple for the woes of Mission Motors is misplaced. They were underfunded from the start, not managed particularly well, and had a difficult time attracting investors. Good products don't mean anything if you don't have the ability to bring them to market. You're also not going to retain employees if you can't compensate them competitively. Apple snagged a number of engineers but Google, Tesla, and Harley-Davidson all got their share.

Apple and other large companies certainly affect the 'intelligent' automobile (iAuto?) market by hiring key people but business is always like that - competitive.
 
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CFreymarc

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Sep 4, 2009
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I can see how this can become a life-threatening issue for a start-up facing a giant such as Apple. These start-ups are often comprised of only a handful of people and if Apple (with its deep pockets) makes offers-they-can't-refuse to essential people, then they are dead in the water.
I have seen many a start-up die a slow death after losing key technical talent. Worst, a non-tech exec moves in thinking engineers are interchangeable with "unreasonable" demands of a talent are ignored.

One of my favorite stories is an engineer quitting after a new exec banned his dog from working in his office. They were not able to replace him for months and when they did, the release schedule was year behind competition.
 
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darwen

macrumors 6502a
Apr 12, 2005
668
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California, US
I disagree here. Where would Apple be today of Mike Markkula hadn't been an investor?
Startups like this need venture capitalists and those willing to take a chance with their money for payoff later.

I can appreciate that. Investors should be able to see an upside. However, publicly shaming individuals for going to greener pastures is not okay. Startups are high risk investments, and having talent leave is a well known risk. The "Sharks" on Shark Tank (in the US) talk about personality of the entrepreneur all the time. You want to invest in someone that is going to rally the troops, not someone who grumbles when they leave.
 
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