Corporate lawsuits typically don't get the general public excited, unless they could potentially lend credence to the rumor that Apple is working on an electric car.
Battery-maker A123 Systems is suing Apple, claiming the tech giant is aggressively poaching employees, Reuters reports.
The lawsuit claims that around June 2014, Apple began luring away employees tasked to work on top projects at A123, which makes lithium-ion batteries for electric cars. The employees jumped ship in violation of their contracts, the suit says.
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These employees were so critical to the projects they were working on that those projects had to be abandoned, A123 argues. It also claims Apple tried the same tactic with other battery manufacturers, including LG Chem, Samsung SDI, Panasonic, Toshiba, and Johnson Controls.
Data on LinkedIn is also reported to show that Apple recently hired many engineers from the automotive industry--including more than 60 former Tesla employees.
Analaysts take this as a sign that Apple is serious about getting into the car business.
A separate report from Bloomberg claims the company could have a car ready for production by 2020.
Apple is encouraged by Tesla's success at "breaking the traditional barriers" for entry into the auto industry, an anonymous source said. A car project would also give Cupertino something to rival Google's autonomous-car development.
The "car team" reportedly has about 200 members, the result of a hiring spree in recent months. However, the car project could still get cancelled if executives are unhappy with the initial results, the report said.
None of this confirms that Apple is working on a car or, if it is, that said car will ever see production. Yet it does lend enough credibility to the story to keep the Apple car rumor mill turning.