Tesla CEO Elon Musk accused billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates of shorting his company. The Microsoft co-founder has dodged the question in the past, but more recently, he came close to admitting that he did have a short position in the automaker at some point.
Bill Gates may have been shorting Tesla
Musk accused Bill Gates of shorting Tesla earlier this month as he countered Gates' claims that the company's electric Semi was not viable. Musk said he doesn't think Gates was "ill-intentioned" in his remarks about the Semi not being viable. He believes Gates "didn't know what he was talking about" and that "probably somebody told him that, and he is just not that close to the physics of it."
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Musk also said he had heard that Gates was shorting Tesla with a "large" position. He added that he didn't know if that was true, but it seemed "weird." Now in an interview with Bloomberg, Gates came up just short of admitting that he was shorting Tesla.
"Well, you know, I think Tesla is an amazing company," he said. "I wish I'd owned or been more on the long side, but it's great. I have lots of relatives that own Teslas that I helped buy for them so nothing but positive thoughts about Tesla and its role."
In an earlier interview with CNBC, Gates dodged the question about whether he had a short position in the automaker.
Gates likes Musk's work but disagrees with him
Bill Gates' praise of Musk and Tesla makes his shorting of the company especially interesting. The two have had their share of disagreements, like their debate over COVID vaccines and the pandemic lockdowns. Toward the end of last year, Musk called Gates a "knucklehead" who has "no clue" about electric cars.
While Gates has praised Tesla for its innovation and push for the adoption of electric vehicles, he told YouTuber Marques Brownlee that he bought a Porsche Taycan instead. Last year, Musk tweeted that his conversations with Gates had always been "underwhelming," and then Gates took issue with his remarks on the pandemic in July. Gates said Musk's "positioning is to maintain a high level of outrageous comments" and that he's "not much involved in vaccines, although he "makes a great electric car."
Tesla is part of the Entrepreneur Index, which tracks 60 of the largest publicly traded companies operated by founders or their families. Musk co-founded the automaker and continues to make waves with his tweets on everything from the pandemic to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.