Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has upbraided tech guru Bill Gates over the investment strategy Gates has pursued concerning Tesla, which makes electric cars.
Amid a Twitter conversation Friday, Musk said that he asked Gates why he was short-selling Tesla stock. Short-selling is a tactic used when investors expect a stock price to fall.
“I heard from multiple people at TED that Gates still had half billion short against Tesla, which is why I asked him, so it’s not exactly top secret,” Musk said.
Yeah, but I didn’t leak it to NYT. They must have got it through friends of friends.
I heard from multiple people at TED that Gates still had half billion short against Tesla, which is why I asked him, so it’s not exactly top secret.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 23, 2022
He confirmed that a text conversation posted on Twitter was real.
“Yeah, but I didn’t leak it to NYT. They must have got it through friends of friends.”
The conversation shows Musk asking Gates, “Do you still have a half billion dollar short position against Tesla?”
“Sorry to say I haven’t closed it out. I would like to discuss philanthropy possibilities,” Gates replied.
Musk then ended the exchange.
So apparently Bill Gates hit up @elonmusk to discuss “philanthropy on climate change” but Elon asked if he still had a half billion dollar short position on $TSLA.
Bill said he hasn’t closed it out, so Elon told him to get lost. No idea if this is true lol pic.twitter.com/iuHkDG3bAd
— Whole Mars Catalog (@WholeMarsBlog) April 22, 2022
“Sorry, I cannot take your philanthropy on climate change seriously when you have a massive short position against Tesla, the company doing the most to solve climate change,” he said.
Gates had made a similar comment in a 2021 interview with The New York Times.
“Well, it’s important to say that what Elon did with Tesla is one of the greatest contributions to climate change anyone’s ever made. And you know, underestimating Elon is not a good idea,” Gates said then.
However, elsewhere in the interview, Gates suggested that his vision of climate change requires more than electric vehicles
“[H]aving near term goals is very important. But if that’s all you focus on, then you’ll only work on the easy stuff, like passenger cars — which Tesla and others have done great work there. That we can see eventually that the extra cost, what I call the green premium, will be very low. But we’re basically not doing enough on the hard stuff: steel, cement, meat. And sadly, the things people think about — the electricity, passenger cars — are a third of the problem. So we have to work on the two-thirds,” Gates said then.
My conversations with Gates have been underwhelming tbh
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 18, 2020
Musk had sent a pointed tweet about Gates in 2020 when asked about why Gates had chosen an electric Porsche instead of a Tesla.