Monday, April 15, 2024

Musk Threatens AI and Robotics Outside Tesla if Not Granted More Voting Control: How a Breakup Could Impact Your TSLA Shares and the EV Market

HomeStock-MarketMusk Threatens AI and Robotics Outside Tesla if Not Granted More Voting...

Elon Musk made headlines once again this week with comments about pursuing artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics projects, possibly outside of Tesla if he doesn’t get more voting control. His statements sparked intense debate and speculation about what it could all mean for the electric vehicle company going forward.

It started innocently enough on Twitter, where Musk was responding to a discussion about his current compensation from Tesla. Two users were suggesting that additional money may or may not further motivate the billionaire. Musk jumped in to explain that this wasn’t really about money or traditional compensation for him.

What he’s really after is more voting power and influence at Tesla. Specifically, Musk said he wants about 25% of the voting rights. He believes this would give him enough sway to guide the company toward being an AI and robotics leader, while still allowing him to be overturned if enough shareholders vote against him.

Musk pointed out that his current voting control is around 15% or lower. He feels that’s too little, as it could allow a dubious takeover by other interests. The Tesla CEO wants enough power to drive the company strategy, but not total domination.

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Why Does Musk Want More Voting Control?

Musk further clarified his statements a couple hours later, noting that he has a great relationship with Tesla’s board. The holdup is that he’s still waiting on a verdict in an ongoing Delaware court case regarding his compensation.

But his core motivation remains cementing his influence over decision making and the company’s direction. Musk believes Tesla has massive potential in AI, robotics, and autonomy. However, he’s uncomfortable seeing the company fully realize that potential without stronger voting power on his part.

The outspoken CEO also hinted at worrying about Activist investors or other parties attempting a takeover. Musk looks to history and sees how visionary founders like Henry Ford lost control of the empires they built.

Musk doesn’t want to end up sidelined like Steve Jobs famously was at Apple for a time. With Tesla divided into numerous startups under one umbrella, Musk likely wants to steer the ship to prevent any mutiny.

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What Does This Mean for Tesla’s Future Products?

There’s been rampant speculation about what Musk pursuing AI and robots outside of Tesla could entail. However, it’s important to first note that Musk still seems fully committed to the company.

His comments indicate he strongly prefers building new products under the Tesla brand. But the threat of taking his talents elsewhere gives Musk leverage in negotiations with the board.

Musk has touted Tesla as the leader in real-world AI thanks to its driver-assistance software. He also revealed an early prototype of the Tesla Bot humanoid robot last year. Musk envisions an affordable robotaxi fleet powered by full self-driving in the future.

Losing Musk could jeopardize these long-term product roadmaps. And the uncertainty alone could negatively impact the stock price. Investors are essentially betting on Musk’s vision when buying Tesla shares.

Musk Helping Competitors?

There’s also the possibility that Musk could end up helping competitors if he leaves. For example, he could advise legacy automakers on manufacturing efficiencies.

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Musk has proven adept at revolutionizing production processes for electric vehicles and rockets. His expertise could allow other companies to build cheaper electric cars, faster. This could make it harder for Tesla models like the rumored $25,000 compact car to stand out.

Additionally, Musk’s new AI firm could license proprietary tech to rivals. Imagine Tesla’s robotaxi network competing against an AI-optimized ridesharing fleet enabled by Musk. Tesla’s big edge lies in superior software and integration. Remove Musk from the equation and suddenly the playing field levels.

There are still more questions than answers about what’s next. But Musk clearly feels he’s outgrown his current role and needs more direct say over his many projects. With Tesla aiming to keep growing at 50% annually, major decisions are on the horizon.

And Musk wants to drive in the direction of an AI/robotics future, with or without Tesla. Expect more sparks to fly as he negotiates just how much sway he’ll have. But Tesla still provides Musk his best opportunity to achieve his grand vision.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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