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Why GM workers are studying Tesla


General Motors Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson addresses the media before the start of GM’s Annual Meeting of Stockholders at GM’s Global Headquarters in Detroit last month (Rebecca Cook/Reuters/File)

Fifteen years ago, the recording industry dismissed online music sales as a ridiculous fad. “Those MP3 files are huge — two and three megabytes each! Who wants to wait around for those to download? Let’s just copy-protect our CDs, and everything will be fine.”

Around the same time, some bookstores pooh-poohed Amazon. “Who wants to buy novels online when you can just stop by your neighborhood bookshop and pick ’em up?”

More recently, Microsoft failed to see the promise of mobile computing. That didn’t go so well, either.

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Admittedly, the auto industry is a little different: its products are far bigger and more expensive than smartphones, e-books, and MP3s. But that doesn’t mean that the auto industry can’t change. In fact, it will change, and car companies that don’t keep up will be hurled onto the funeral pyre of history, alongside folks who made teletype machines and the Betamax.

Which changes are coming? Who or what will be the big disruptor? We can’t say for sure, but General Motors’ CEO Dan Akerson has a hunch that it may have something to do with Tesla. ( Continue… )
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