Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Microsoft mogul Bill Gates find themselves entangled in a bitter feud, a rivalry marked by financial maneuvers, sharp words, and contrasting philosophies. The clash became starkly apparent when Gates bet against Tesla’s fortunes, engaging in a short sale of the company’s stock.
Just so that the public understands:
Taking out a short position against Tesla, as Gates did, results in the highest return only if a company goes bankrupt!
Gates placed a massive bet on Tesla dying when our company was at one of its weakest moments several years ago. Such a…
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 11, 2023
In a candid statement posted on X, the site formerly known as Twitter, Musk illuminated the practice of shorting a stock, emphasizing that it yields significant returns only when a company faces bankruptcy.
Gates, in a bold move, had taken a massive bet against Tesla during one of its vulnerable periods several years ago, a decision that not only signaled his lack of confidence in the electric vehicle manufacturer but also contributed to driving down the stock value, adversely affecting everyday investors.
Musk, never one to shy away from expressing his views, didn’t mince words. He publicly questioned whether Gates still maintained that massive bet against Tesla.
He criticized Gates for his hypocrisy, citing instances where Gates sought donations for environmental causes while simultaneously profiting from Tesla’s potential demise, a contradiction that bewildered Musk. A recently published biography of Musk by Walter Isaacson delves into their tumultuous relationship, with a focal point being Gates’s shorting of Tesla stock.
Isaacson’s book recounts a pivotal moment in March 2022 when Musk and Gates met at the Tesla gigafactory in Austin. Their discussion veered towards philanthropy and, inevitably, the contentious issue of Gates betting against Tesla surfaced.
Musk questioned the ethics of someone advocating for climate change while profiting from the potential failure of an eco-friendly car company. This clash of principles strained their relationship further. Gates, attempting to discuss philanthropic matters with Musk via text, found himself confronted with Musk’s relentless focus on his short position in Tesla.
This led to an abrupt end to their conversation, with Musk openly expressing his doubts about Gates’s sincerity in tackling climate change. In a message to Isaacson, Musk didn’t hold back:
“At this point, I am convinced that he is categorically insane (and an a—hole to the core). I did actually want to like him (sigh).” Since that exchange, Musk has not hesitated to openly mock Gates, making it clear that any semblance of camaraderie between them has evaporated.
Responding to a tweet clarifying the nature of shorting stocks, Musk humorously suggested that someone should inquire about Gates’s favorite Caribbean island — a poignant allusion to the controversy surrounding Gates and his close ties to Jeffery Epstein.