- Tesla Motors and Mobileye, an Israeli computer chip and algorithm supplier, are quarreling publicly over the auto company's use of Mobileye's chip for the Autopilot system, which in June was linked to a fatal crash, the Wall Street Journal reports.
- Mobileye executives claim they warned Tesla their technology was not meant for fully autonomous use, telling Reuters the company was "pushing the envelope on safety." Mobileye is a leading market supplier for semiautonomous driving technology, so the link to their chip is particularly dangerous for business.
- Tesla responded stating they were building an in-house system that may have prevented the crash, but a threatened Mobileye tried to discontinue these developments. Mobileye acknowledged they knew of the development, but denied feeling threatened.
Blaming the supplier is a popular pastime in many organizations. It is easier to blame the party that is not a colleague or coworker, but one that is considered an organizational outsider. Supply managers who invest in strong relationship building with suppliers act as a buffer to those who seek to attack and blame suppliers for a host of ills that are usually unrelated to supplier performance.
While the company leaders battle it out in the court of public opinion, there may very well be cooler heads working together in the background to maintain the supplier-client relationship enjoyed at one time by both companies. Emotions and sound bites aside, scores of employees from both firms, including business and technology folks, have worked hard to do the best jobs they can. The high profile traffic fatality certainly impacts everyone in the supply chain.
In the case of Tesla and Mobileye, once the public feud subsides it will be up to those who maintain the relationship to pick up the pieces and move forward.