Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Microsoft founder Bill Gates don’t necessarily have to like each other just because they both have assets in the triple-digit billion range. In fact, for a long time they seemed more likely to share a dislike. Instead of a Tesla, Gates bought a Porsche Taycan in 2020, and Musk said his conversations with him were disappointing. In early 2021, Gates even gave the impression of speculating against Tesla stock through short selling. However, now the two apparently wanted to meet at a conference to talk about philanthropy, but according to Musk, Gates confirmed the brief speculation shortly before, so nothing came of it.
Gates Bets $500 Million Against Tesla
This stems, somewhat convolutedly, from a text message exchange posted Saturday night by user @WholeMarsBlog on Twitter. He is in contact with Musk there and at times seems to see himself as some kind of spokesperson for Tesla. Gates “apparently” wanted to talk to Musk about philanthropic projects, but Musk called off, wrote @WholeMarsBlog. He has no idea if that’s true.
He did not identify the source of the screenshots of the text messages posted with this statement, but Musk later wrote that they were authentic. According to this, the exchange started with a message “720 on Wednesday to be exact” from a sender named Bill with the BG logo, followed by the reply “great”. BG then reported that he had just landed, to which Musk apparently responded “great.” A day later, however, he asked in the evening if the recipient still had a $500 million short position against Tesla, to which he replied in the affirmative the next morning. “I want to talk about philanthropy opportunities,” he also wrote, but then Musk stopped.
Yeah, but I didn’t leak it to the NYT. They must have gotten it through friends of friends.
I heard from several people at TED that Gates was still half a billion short against Tesla, so I asked him, so it’s not exactly a secret.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 23, 2022
Sadly, he can’t take Gates’ climate change philanthropy seriously if he’s massively short against the company doing everything it can to combat climate change, the Tesla boss wrote, according to Twitter photos, which he later confirmed as genuine. It is not clear if Gates reacted to this. Musk also said that he heard from multiple people at the Ted 2022 conference in Canada last week that the Microsoft founder continued to bet $500 million against Tesla. That’s why he asked about it, and it’s not necessarily a closely guarded secret.
The SMS messages are likely to come from Musk
Musk only commented on the source, writing that he himself had not shared the text message exchange with the NYT. The newspaper must have gotten it from friends of friends, but they didn’t report it at all. One way or another, the start of the chain must have been the head of Tesla if the news is real, unless other people have access to his cell phone. In any case, what Gates did not want to reveal when asked directly about the rumor in an interview last February (see photo above) that he has a large short position in Tesla is now confirmed: he does not talk about his investments, then explained the founder of Microsoft, after having done so shortly before.