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Businesses Transportation Apple

Apple Approaches McLaren About A Potential Acquisition: FT (ft.com) 136

Apple has approached British Formula One team owner McLaren for a strategic investment or a potential buyout (Editor's note: the link could be paywalled; alternate source), the Financial Times reported, citing sources. The loss-making automotive group could be valued at around $1.4 billion. A deal with McLaren, which also makes high-performance sports cars, could give Apple key automotive technology amid reports that the company is working on a self-driving car. From the report:The California technology group, which has been working on a self-driving electric vehicle for more than two years, is considering a full takeover of McLaren or a strategic investment, according to three people briefed on the negotiations who said talks started several months ago. Update: 09/21 17:31 GMT by M :The New York Times, citing two people familiar with the matter, is now reporting the same. The publication additional says that Apple has also held talks with Lit Motors, a San Francisco start-up that has developed an electric self-balancing motorcycle, about a potential acquisition.
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Apple Approaches McLaren About A Potential Acquisition: FT

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 21, 2016 @12:18PM (#52931745)

    Why would Apple acquire an maker of overpriced consumer luxury goods? How could that possibly fit in with their current portfolio?

    • Let's just hope Apple doesn't move McLaren manufacturing to China.......!!!
      • lets see......Apple + McLaren = Apple maps getting you completely lost faster than ever before.......?
        • by Hylandr ( 813770 )

          Lets just install brick walls at Mclaren / Apple Dealerships and let save the new owners time testing how fast and how many pieces they fly into when they hit the wall.

    • I thought it was the other way round.

      Because when you go to somebody for something, that usually means you want them to give it to you. Like "I went to the bank for a loan".

      • by NotAPK ( 4529127 )

        "I went to the bank for a loan"

        Which of course makes no sense when the true situation is:

        "I went to the bank to negotiate an opportunity for me to pay them 1-4% p.a. of the price of a home over 20-40 years"

    • Why would Apple acquire an maker of overpriced consumer luxury goods?

      I've got this to say about that: you're not driving it right.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      Why would Apple acquire an maker of overpriced consumer luxury goods? How could that possibly fit in with their current portfolio?

      The thing is, McLaren isn't a luxury car manufacturer. That would be someone like Rolls, Maybach or even Jaguar at a stretch.

      McLaren are a racing team that makes a few road going race cars.

      Rolls Royce would be a cheaper buy from BMW, They bought it off VW for 40 million pounds who paid Vickers 340 million pounds.

      Also probably more likely to happen as McLaren have already denied this and it doesn't pass the smell test (McLaren have turned down a few of offers over the years, they're happy being a sm

  • Apple loves their premium branding. They charge $700 for a phone, makes sense they would push for a $500,000 [topcarrating.com] iCar. Either way, less than 1/4 of the ticket price will be parts cost, the rest will be the Apple Tax.
    • by mccalli ( 323026 )
      Galaxy S7 32Gb: £570 (~$740).
      • Maybe a better example of this absurd premiums is $150 for bluetooth earbuds? $3k for a $1200 equivalent laptop?
      • Note 7: £749 (~$930), though it does have 64GB of internal storage.

        Apple definitely doesn't have a lock on pricey phones, though their 7+/256 is a whopping £919

        • Apple definitely doesn't have a lock on pricey phones, though their 7+/256 is a whopping £919

          Worth. It has a headphone jack.

      • And yet, I can easily found dozens of 10" tablet "powered" by Mediatek chipset, that can still run on Android,
        and all cost ~150 CHF (~140 EUR, ~155 USD, ~120 GBP).
        (Similar tendency of price difference in smartphones too)

        The same android.

        Of course, if you try and look for the most expensive Android manufacturer, it's going to be in the same ballpark as Apple.
        For the rest of us, you could try a cheaper alternative (LG, HTC, etc.)
        For the people who simply use tablets and smartphones as glorified Web/Facebook/I

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It makes no sense to me. Apple tries to push the "green" image. McLaren makes 1000 hp hyper cars that when pushed on a track get less than 1 MPG. Apple tries to make luxuries that everyone can afford, McLaren makes cars I wish I could afford. McLaren has played a little in hybrids but has no real expertise in full electrics which seems more like what Apple would be interested in, and Mclaren to my knowledge has done absolutely nothing with self driving cars. They're a boutique auto maker who makes F1 c

      • by mccalli ( 323026 )
        This isn't about their current car range. Their interest would be in the McLaren design studio and engineering. Apple may or may not be interested in the supercar range, but even if they were it wouldn't be the primary driver for this kind of deal.
        • Nah, this is above proven technology. What other car manufacturer has managed to incorporate both a flux capacitor and a portable fusion reactor into their line?

          You're just not thinking out of the box enough.

          • No, no, sorry. DeLoren. Not thinking out of the coffee cup enough.

            I knew there was a downside to a week of triple shot expressos in Seattle. Withdrawal is hell.

      • > Lets put it this way, they don't make daily drivers.

        Unless, of course, you're Russ Hanneman, aka Mark Cuban, aka the "radio on internet" guy.

    • This is clearly Tesla envy. I suppose Tim approached Tesla about marrying Tesla to IOS. Got a hand and a foot. Stomped off and dreamed up this kooky revenge scheme. Verdict: money, 1; brains 0.

      Next up: iRocket.

  • This will ensure your $1.5 million car will be worth $30k.

    • McLaren's technology group also does design for products from bicycles to other products and not all wind up "luxury" priced.

      I doubt Apple's first car will be $30,000. Try 3 times that price.

      They are as meticulous as Apple when it comes to analysis and design and production.

      • Current rumours [nytimes.com] are suggesting that Apple's car plans are undergoing a shake-up. It's entirely possible they'll ditch making a whole car themselves, and work at just a few major components that others can integrate.

        If that's the case, buying McLaren counterintuitively makes a lot of sense: they do serious design and component work, and having that experience would aid Apple's efforts. Apple's not planning on releasing a million+ dollar car*. Their products (first-gen Apple Watch Edition aside) are expensiv

        • This is one of the reasons I think Tesla designing a self driving car is a bad idea. The leading software is going to be transferable to any other car maker... the I/O is going to be standard across automakers. If things eventually go the way they do in software industry the Tesla will end up with Bosch, Apple or perhaps Google autopilot in it. So what is the point of sinking all that money into Tesla autopilot and taking all the liability risks?
          • Tesla's skating to where the puck will be: completely autonomous electric cars. They've got "electric" down pretty well, but their choices for the "autonomous" part are to either wait for their competitors to catch up and settle on standards, or take the risk to be the first, blaze the path, and reap the rewards.

            That they're moving too fast and unsafely is a fair argument to make, but it's also fair to say that this is sound long-term business strategy. Assuming they don't get sued into oblivion first.

        • Apple's car plans are undergoing a shake-up. It's entirely possible they'll ditch making a whole car themselves, and work at just a few major components that others can integrate.

          Or they'll get somebody else to make it & stick their badge (and a huge markup) on it.

          If that's the case, buying McLaren counterintuitively makes a lot of sense: they do serious design and component work, and having that experience would aid Apple's efforts.

          They could equally subcontract it, or even set up a joint venture

      • by Dracos ( 107777 )

        McLaren would never be so arrogant to, say, remove the headlights from their cars just to sell drivers an expensive set of VR goggles for night driving.

        And then call it courage.

      • They are as meticulous as Apple when it comes to analysis and design and production.

        You're steering it wrong. http://www.mclarenlife.com/for... [mclarenlife.com]
    • $30k? No, hipsters are ready to shell out $60k for a brand car. And, on the up side, everybody will want one.

      • Whoooosh!!! I am so not talking about that it isn't even funny. I am talking about existing McLaren owners who shelled out that much for a fancy car will watch their value drop by Apple Buying the company. You know....because Apple sucks the sausage. Next time I will just let the Whoooosh go by and not explain it to you!!!

  • The only "FT" mentioned in the summary is "Financial Times".

    So, Apple wants to buy the Financial Times from McLaren? That would be a very strategic investment indeed.

  • God, I hope not (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Wednesday September 21, 2016 @12:21PM (#52931789)

    I've been a supporter of McLaren since I was a kid. I could never support an Apple F1 team. (or Google, or Microsoft, or Blackberry, or Facebook)

    I know it's a corporate entity and it shouldn't matter who owns/runs them- but on a basic level it would ruin it for me.

    • May be a corporate entity, but the merger means one less company somewhere in the umbrella. Diversity is important, and it's something that's quickly disappearing.
    • by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Wednesday September 21, 2016 @12:31PM (#52931881)
      How about if they called it an F1 McIntosh?
    • by mccalli ( 323026 )
      How about a Red Bull one? It's nothing new.
      • And before Red Bull, Bennetton.

        I never like either of those teams either to be honest.

        • by mccalli ( 323026 )
          Yep, and before Benetton it was all Toleman Motorsport. I've also toured the Jaguar F1 factory, which was Stuart, and which became Red Bull. Agree with you on Benetton - they always skirted the rules and felt sleazy to me.
    • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday September 21, 2016 @12:54PM (#52932065)

      I've been a supporter of McLaren since I was a kid. I could never support an Apple F1 team.

      Ok, honest question. Though I know who the teams are I'm not a follower of F1. Why do you care one way or the other about McLaren? What do they do that makes them particularly worthy of your adoration among F1 teams? And why would Apple owning them affect that adoration in any way? Obviously it doesn't bother you that the government of Bahrain is a 50% owner why should it matter if Apple is the owner instead? Not being critical I just don't understand your position.

      I know it's a corporate entity and it shouldn't matter who owns/runs them- but on a basic level it would ruin it for me.

      Not seeing the logic in your position. And frankly the F1 part of the company is merely the most visible part.

      • The same reason anyone cares about any sports team. Sports are more interesting when you have a vested emotional interest in one team.

        Why McLaren? Probably because they're a British based team, and along with Williams, perhaps represent Britain more than any other team. (I happen to be British)

        They have a long history of success in Formula One and had two of the most exciting drivers around when I was young and first getting into the sport. One tends to stick with teams that attract them for one reason

      • I don't know what sport you support but just for clarification. If Apple bought the New York Yankees and turned them into the "New York iPhones" - do you not think Yankees fans would be annoyed?

        Or if Microsoft purchased Manchester United and changed their logo to a devil holding up a windows logo.

        Perhaps the Dallas Nexus playing in the NFL?

        A quiet investment group buying a club or a team... not a big deal, it doesn't impact the public perception of the club. A big corporate entity buying a club and brandi

        • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday September 21, 2016 @01:56PM (#52932615)

          I don't know what sport you support but just for clarification. If Apple bought the New York Yankees and turned them into the "New York iPhones" - do you not think Yankees fans would be annoyed?

          And why do you immediately suppose Apple would be so gauche? Come on. You don't have to like Apple but they aren't idiots.

          A quiet investment group buying a club or a team... not a big deal, it doesn't impact the public perception of the club.

          It's pretty unlikely that Apple would suddenly start branding McLaren's F1 team in such a manner. They're actually pretty adept at the marketing game. Yeah you might see an Apple logo here or there but it's not as if there aren't corporate sponsors already. F1 is basically a business of rolling billboards today.

          A big corporate entity buying a club and branding it to suit them. That's selling out! I've never liked how American stadiums are all named after corporations. It ruins the aura for me.

          It's adorable that you think F1 has never "sold out" given that the entire business model is advertising. Without explicit corporate sponsorship F1 doesn't exist. They slap corporate logos on anything that moves - literally. And you think Apple getting involved in that promotion-fest would change things? Spare me.

          • A big corporate entity buying a club and branding it to suit them. That's selling out! I've never liked how American stadiums are all named after corporations. It ruins the aura for me.

            It's adorable that you think F1 has never "sold out" given that the entire business model is advertising. Without explicit corporate sponsorship F1 doesn't exist. They slap corporate logos on anything that moves - literally. And you think Apple getting involved in that promotion-fest would change things? Spare me.

            It's interesting to see how F1 evolved from country colors to the corporate branding seen today after John Player slapped some logos on a car. Now, an F1 car probably has some of the highest priced real estate in the world on a square inch basis. As for US pro stadiums, Soldier Field and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum stand out in leagues by themselves.

          • You don't have to like Apple but they aren't idiots.

            AirPods.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            They probably won't mess with McLaren much, beyond some logos on their cars. They want the tech and the experience of manufacturing high end cars.

        • by NotAPK ( 4529127 )

          "I've never liked how American stadiums are all named after corporations. It ruins the aura for me."

          Do what I do: refuse to use corporate names for anything. And the plus side, I've never had a problem communicating with those around me.

          Here in England I have called the Millenium Dome [wikipedia.org] the "Millenium Dome" ever since it was built. I don't give a flying fuck about the corporate sponsorship from some telecommunications company. Everyone I've ever spoken to knows exactly what I mean.

          I suggest you find the origi

        • I agree with you about American stadiums, it totally takes the shine off. However F1 already has the Red Bull team, so I don't suppose Apple will do anything worse than that.

          • by Cederic ( 9623 )

            Red Bull is an interesting one though. They make their money through high margin fizzy water but they've also nurtured a brand that's intrinsically linked with extreme sports, and running their own racing team actually fits neatly into and extends that.

    • by Alomex ( 148003 )

      I've been a supporter of McLaren since I was a kid. I could never support an Apple F1 team. (or Google, or Microsoft, or Blackberry, or Facebook)

      You are aware that Mercedes AMG has a deal with Blackberry with the logo prominently shown on the sides; Williams, BMW Sauber and Caterham used to have a deal with Intel; Lotus and Renault have a deal with Microsoft; Lotus, BMW Sauber and Caterham have a deal with Dell, and McLaren had a deal with SUN Microsystems?

    • That was the first thing that struck my mind as well.

  • Current title is:

    Apple Approaches McLaren About A Potential Acquisition: FT

    It's hard to read this as not being about Apple approaching McLaren about buying FT. Then:

    Apple has approached British Formula One team owner McLaren for a strategic investment or a potential buyout

    So Apple is investing in ... McLaren? Formula One? The British Formula One team? British modifies McLaren, maybe?

    Sigh.

  • I've wondered why there is not an automated racing series.... most new performance technologies are vetted first on the racetrack. This would be a great way to develop bulletproof software.
    • I've wondered why there is not an automated racing series.... most new performance technologies are vetted first on the racetrack.

      Because there is no money in it. The fact that racing is a test bed for a lot of technology is incidental. Nobody watches auto racing because of that fact and they certainly don't pay money because of it.

      This would be a great way to develop bulletproof software.

      You run into a lot of pedestrians, bad weather, bad roads, wildlife, oncoming traffic, crossing traffic, traffic lights, etc on a racetrack? If so where are you watching racing? The only automotive racing that might make a credible test bed would be rally car racing and that doesn't deal with any of the

      • There is no money in ANY auto racing....it's purely sponsor driven. And while the software would have to be modified for other scenarios, the number #1 concern would be to avoid other cars without causing an accident and racing would be great for that.
        • There is no money in ANY auto racing....it's purely sponsor driven

          That's like saying Google doesn't make any money because all they do is advertise. You're kind of missing the point. The advertising for the sponsors IS the business model. Sure they have some ancillary revenue streams (gate, merch, etc) but basically F1 and most other forms of auto racing are basically advertising platforms. F1 as a business brought in about $1.5 billion last year and that is just for the corporate entity that owns F1, not any of the others with a financial stake in it.

          And while the software would have to be modified for other scenarios, the number #1 concern would be to avoid other cars without causing an accident and racing would be great for that.

          Racing only woul

          • It's clear that you don't understand the first thing about auto racing. I am not suggesting people will come out just for automated racing, it is simply a matter of adding a class to an existing series. And no matter what you think, racing would provide tons of useful data to automation developers.
          • by torqer ( 538711 )

            "Racing only would be useful for avoiding cars that happen to be going the same direction as you. It has no oncoming or cross traffic or stopped vehicles. It doesn't have inexperienced or bad driver"

            You must have never seen Kamui Kobayashi race in F1. There was a significant chance he'd end up, backwards, stopped, sliding across the circuit... And making a few exceptional passes.

      • "Because there is no money in it. The fact that racing is a test bed for a lot of technology is incidental. Nobody watches auto racing because of that fact and they certainly don't pay money because of it."

        No, no-one watches for that reason, but car manufacturers invest in motor racing in part because it can be a test bed for technologies. F1 and other motor racing series are constantly tweaking rules (at manufacturers request) to make the R&D they're doing for racing be more compatible with technology

      • by radish ( 98371 )

        I disagree - I've been watching F1 since I was a kid (probably 35 years now) and I absolutely am interested in the technology. That's the thing about F1, it's not just drivers and teams - it's also engineers and designers. Now I don't disagree that the commercial success of a driverless series would be extremely unlikely, you can't take the tech out of F1, it's an integral part of the experience.

    • Self driving race cars would plot perfect curves and run on the exact speed point before tire slippage started. Once the field started and worked out a racing order, it would stay that way for the entire remainder of the race. It would be extremely boring.

      • Tire wear and brakes overheat.... gas is burned and the weight of the car changes. Some cars will just be running faster than others, so the programmers will want to take advantage of that to win. Also the cars would have competing algorithms and settings, so there would be much more variability than you think. And once the tech was sufficiently advanced they will be running with human drivers in something like the 24 hours of lemans.
    • I'm not sure I'd consider automation to be a "performance technology."

      That said, the other day I remarked that I'd love to see someone enter an automated vehicle in NASCAR. It'd be like Kasparov vs. Deep Blue [wikipedia.org]...for rednecks!

      • It would be a real public relations coup for someone like google to break in to the redneck crowd. Like it or not they make up a big portion of the economy.
  • 1. $1000 phones havent been fashionable in almost a decade, with most users preferring more versatile and affordable Android based devices. the killing stroke? wireless earbuds guaranteed to be swallowed by the nearest toddler.

    2. Apple laptops were once flagships of technological innovation. now most laptops sport outmoded processors and ram with only slick video to gin up the fanboys. the killing stroke? function keys are now a touch screen.

    3. the apple...car? Tesla will easily beat them to th
    • $1000 phones havent been fashionable in almost a decade, with most users preferring more versatile and affordable Android based devices. the killing stroke?

      And yet people buy them by the millions and nearly all the profit in smart phones goes to Apple with no sign of that stopping in the near future. They continue to be able to sell them at a premium when almost nobody else can. And you think Apple products are out of fashion? I think you might be the one who is out of touch.

      Apple laptops were once flagships of technological innovation.

      At times but never consistently. Apple has hardly ever been the technology leader. Rather they have been the leader in determining trends. They are rarely the first to push any given

    • 3. the apple...car? Tesla will easily beat them to the market for a high performance luxury supercar with "ludicrous" speed showing up as an upgrade. nissan, bmw, and toyota already have award winning design and functionality thats not only ChaDeMO compatible but affordable for anyone whos lunch didnt happen on a yacht. Google, Uber, Lyft, and a host of other companies have already spent more time and money developing and testing the self driving car. If apple seriously thinks that somehow buying a supercar company with no experience in fully electric vehicles is somehow going to help them its difficult to see how. It would have been smarter for them to just buy an existing company, but im sure Tesla flat-out refused.

      I largely agree with you here, but there's a lot of nuance that can't be ignored. Apple can't possibly be close to Google or Uber when it comes to self-driving car on-the-road research. Uber's got a massive advantage in solving the traveling salesman problem of autonomous, on-demand cars that Google and Apple don't have. Google and Apple have mapping and software experience that Uber is woefully behind on (all three have huge leads on traditional car manufacturers in software). Apple has manufacturing e

  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ecirpdrahcir]> on Wednesday September 21, 2016 @12:58PM (#52932105)

    McLaren have denied it in a comment to The Verge:

    McLaren said in a statement to The Verge that the company "is not in discussion with Apple in respect of any potential investment."

    http://www.theverge.com/2016/9... [theverge.com]

    • Also, everyone's job is secure.
      There will be no staffing reduction following the takeover, that isn't happening.
      The current McLaren CEO did not respond to calls for clarification, he was out shopping for a new yacht.

  • I'm a PC.
    I'm a Mc.

  • I was intrigued by Lit when they first made headlines a few years ago. Recently I went looking to see whatever came of them - only to discover that the CEO/Mastermind had suffered a serious accident and everything had slowed to a virtual halt.

    So this may be good news. A new life for Lit.

    Imagine lots of little 1 (or 2) person self driving taxis. It could be a breakthrough. Rather than lots of regular sized cars (or mini things like Google has) - Lits could be single person cars which also solves the num

    • CEO/Mastermind had suffered a serious accident and everything had slowed to a virtual halt.

      What kind of serious accident? Was it while testing a Lit motorcycle? Or was it a completely unrelated accident like hitting a tree while snowboarding?

      • Racing his motorcycle on a track - in the interest of science.

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/li... [forbes.com]

        From the article: "Kim was testing his Ducati in a controlled environment at a reputable race track, which he says is the safest place to ride a motorcycle. In an attempt to avoid a collision with another vehicle, he hit a row of sandbags in the track’s runoff area."

  • You won't be able to refuel and listen to the radio at the same time.

  • ... a San Francisco start-up that has developed an electric self-balancing motorcycle...

    Because, when you are lit, your motorcycle had better be self-balancing.

  • Something interesting....Eddy Cue is also on Ferrari's board of directors:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
    http://www.edmunds.com/car-new... [edmunds.com]

    McLaren and Ferrari have a rivalry stretching back about 40 years, both on the street and on the track.

  • I'm sure that if Apple really wanted to, they could just keep upping the offer until it's impossible for Mclaren to say no, but I REALLY hope it doesn't go through.
    From literally hundreds in the 50's, McLaren are one of the very few remaining actually British prestige car companies.
    Rolls Royce, Mini are owned by BMW (German), Bentley is owned by VW (German), Jaguar is owned by Tata (Indian), Lotus is owned by Proton holdings (Malaysian) and as far as I can tell, Aston Martin is actually a mostly Italian/Ara

    • by Cederic ( 9623 )

      good engineering and true craftsmanship

      In fairness, F1 racing pretty much compels this. You can't market your way onto the front row of the grid.

      It is though an excellent point. Apple talk about innovation and engineering excellence, McLaren visibly deliver it.

      • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

        >> In fairness, F1 racing pretty much compels this.
        True but only within a very narrow set of parameters.

        >> You can't market your way onto the front row of the grid.
        No but it seems clear that you can buy your way onto it. I think Apple have more than enough money to do that if they wanted.
        My guess is that they don't really care at all about what happens with the Formula1 team, and are buying McLaren entirely for the road car division and to get their foothold in the automated/advanced tech car in

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