Wait, what? I don’t think Tesla was even first to do that but they certainly aren’t the only one, loads have done it - they are just less impactful on ICE cars. I don’t know why you would think this is non-trivial - literally billions of devices get over the air updates every month.
When I look at all of the incredible technical achievements that companies have developed in recent years the financial advantages only last as long as it takes the competitors to catch up.
3D NAND is truly an incredible technology, miles ahead of anything else, everyone knew demand was going to go through the roof - surely a recipe for a game changing company to achieve massive capitalisation? Well, no because markets react in the same way they always do: competition. Now you have half a dozen companies churning it out and it’s treated like a commodity.
I think we will see the same thing happen with most EV technologies (e.g. batteries), commoditization. Producing the same interchangeable goods with increasing capacity and decreasing price. You said it yourself:
…and just like NAND this is the death of margins.
There’s only one moat that I think you could argue Tesla has and that’s around self driving (data). I actually think this is the only technology that warrants a premium price, because it’s really the only one that presents a significant technical challenge for competitors. That said it’s a gamble because Autopilot is still very basic at this point, every trip in a Tesla seems to show just how nascent Autopilot is. Yes it’s clear to see how much better it’s got over the past few years, every month feels like a step forward, but even now almost every journey will have some event that shows the cracks in the facade making it feel primitive.
If feels like Waymo is in a much better space for self-driving in general but time will tell. I can easily see a future were car driving software is licensed, it seems more likely than every auto manufacturer creating a separate implementation.
Ok maybe you are right and maybe no other manufacturers will be able to succeed with the seemingly simple engineering challenges Tesla has solved, despite having significantly more resources at their disposal. I don’t buy it though.
To me it feels like everyone is acting like Tesla has a 200m wide moat around it when it looks to me more like a small stream with some stepping stones and a crowd of people halfway across. Show me how many years it’s going to take them to get across and I’ll be convinced.