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Samsung holds up Apple's driverless car plans

Apple is ramping up acquisition of talent in order to get its electric car project on the road, but Samsung might have put a spanner in the works by acquiring Magna Steyr's battery business.

The Austrian-based automotive manufacturer is looking to sell off its assets and was apparently in talks with Cupertino for the battery division, but has decided instead to sell the division to Apple's rival Samsung.

Samsung does have its own stake in the electric car business, selling batteries to BMW for its i3 and i8 electric cars. Having a large supplier of battery parts could be a crucial asset, especially in Europe where millions of cars are manufactured every year.

The price was undisclosed and we still don't know if Apple backed out of talks or was outbid by Samsung. The battery division will most likely integrate with Samsung's own division, working on battery innovations for electric vehicles.

Apple could still work on a deal with Magna Steyr for its automotive assembly, which already works with Audi, Fiat, GM, and Volkswagen to produce millions of vehicles.

Considering CEO Tim Cook removed all factories in the late 90s, saving the company from the brink of financial ruin, it is unlikely that Apple will have its own manufacturing factories for the electric car.

Even though Apple's electric car is gaining lots of traction in the news, reports say it is five years away from launch. The hiring spree is only the start of Apple's move into the automotive business, and potentially the self-driving business.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.