What will happen after Tesla open their patent, and should Apple follows?


Elon Musk’s decision to open Tesla’s patent to all interested parties is undoubtedly the most extraordinary strategic move since Google open source the Android OS.  This move will enable Tesla and the EV ecosystem’s to gain an exponential growth in the coming years.  With the similarity with the smart phone industry, it is reasonable to imagine the following developments:

  1. More small/middle size automobile companies will catch public eye-balls by providing their shiny new products developed based on Tesla’s open patent.
  2. Some major automobile companies that has zero EV today will start offering their own EV in coming few years.
  3. Those major automobile companies that already has its EV will face a question of whether to adopt Tesla’s technology or to continue their own, and after a few struggle they will eventually join the crowd.
  4. Undoubtedly new EV news, leaks, rumors and product launch will be as popular as the new iOS device.
  5. More countries will start enhancing and upgrading their transportation infrastructure system to embrace the electronic car era.
  6. China will be one of the most noticeable country in this change, in both using and providing the EVs.  We shall not be surprised to see one or two or even more Chinese automobile manufacturers announce their extremely low cost EV in the coming years.  And some may claim it is their own invention instead of Tesla’s.
  7. should we go on?!….


apple-classic-rainbow-vector-logoSince it’s about patent open/close, and Tesla is as cool as Apple, many ppl naturally relate their move to Apple, and many suggest Apple should do the same.  As a fan of both Apple and Tesla, I understand strongly disagree.  Here’s a few reasons:

  1. As Elon points out in the blog, the EV industry now has a problem of few followers instead of competition.  Apple, on contrary, has too many followers/competitors in their post-PC arena.
  2. Tesla’s open patent will help them gather followers, form a strong force and eventually complete the EV ecosystem.  If Apple opens their patent, they will lost their current high ground and got beat up by the competitors.
  3. Tesla’s core competitiveness comes in their advanced technology.  While Apple’s core competitiveness lies on their excellent integration of art and technology.  Technology itself is not Apple’s greatest strength.  (Not agree?)
  4. Tesla’s case is more like Google open sourcing the Android OS.  They use this move to fight against the old gasoline car industry.  It’s so much like what Google did back in 2010 to fight again Apple’s iPhone.  Apple, however, has no giant to fight, but now being the giant himself.
  5. Furthermore, Apple’s success lies on its close-ecosystem philosophy that to combine hardware and software so can be crafted to one perfect art work.  Openness does not fit it, and it is a lesson-learned by Apple in the early 90s.

In a word, Open or Close, it is a strategy used based on each company’s own situation, and shall not easily follow.