Rumors have long floated around that Apple might stake a claim in Tesla Motors, which is now valued at $20 billion. But the move may be one step closer after analyst Andaan Ahmad at German investment bank Berenberg wrote an open letter to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook suggesting that the tech giant buy a stake in the electric car company.

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Andaan Ahmad has a hunch that the smartphone industry is getting so competitive that it will be increasingly difficult for Apple to continue to generate sufficient revenue to sustain its operations. If Apple were to buy Tesla, however, the income from Tesla’s operations would give Apple a more sustainable income. It also doesn’t hurt that Tesla’s shares are up almost 400 percent this year.

Apple isn’t the only company that is being called on to buy Tesla. Google, which has been hard at work on its new self-driving cars, has also been encouraged to buy a stake in Tesla.

Apple’s critics worry that the company has been less innovative since the late Steve Jobs passed away two years ago. But Tesla has Elon Musk, who for some is on par with the innovation that Jobs brought to the tech giant. Ahmad feels that Apple needs an “out of the box” move, which Tesla and Elon Musk could provide. “You could strike up a partnership and obtain a new iconic partner to lead Apple’s innovation drive.”

+ Apple and Tesla Motors

Via Cleantechnica