This is the layman's understanding of how the tech world works: come up with an idea; execute idea; start making money; get bought out by Apple, Google or some other wealthy company seeking the Next Big Thing; retire to Fiji at age 23. Occasionally, though, one of those startups grows quickly enough to avoid being bought out by the big boys of Silicon Valley. Tesla is one such startup, and while it's an automaker as much as a tech company, the mingling of both worlds in its business model has helped the company survive since 2003, become publicly traded in 2010 and avoid being bought out by a bigger company (though the personality of its co-founder and CEO, Elon Musk, may have something to do with that, too).
This record of independence hasn't stopped the analysts from talking, though. According to CNN Money, Andaan Ahmad, a London-based investment banker with German bank Berenberg, has petitioned Apple CEO Tim Cook to buy out Tesla and bring Elon Musk into the Apple family. On paper, the move would sort of make sense: since the death of Steve Jobs, Apple appears to some to have been sagging, releasing better iterations of its currents products but lacking the big, new, industry-investing widget that makes people go mad. Expanding into the automotive market, a long-rumored destination for Apple, would allow the Cupertino, CA-based brand to stretch its legs in a new direction. As Ahmad notes, Apple needs to go "out of the box" or "the key debate will always be about [Apple's] ability to sustain these abnormal margins in [the] iPhone business."
Although not expressly discussed in the CNN story, we could also see some big benefits for Tesla. The Palo Alto-based automaker has been locked in a war over direct sales to customers with a number of dealership groups across the country, many of which have particularly powerful political lobbies. If Tesla had the backing of the world's most powerful company, which also has success in the business of upgrading traditional retail experiences, it could help establish the direct-sale model on a wider scale.