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Science & Tech: Elon Musk Says Bill Gates Will Be

SCIENCE & TECH: Elon Musk says Bill Gates will be ‘obliterated’ for shorting Tesla stock

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Elon Musk predicted that fellow billionaire tech mogul Bill Gates will be “obliterated” for shorting Tesla stock — rekindling a feud that has been marked by public disagreements over climate change, the coronavirus and electric vehicles.

Musk on Tuesday took to his social media platform, X, to respond to a user who invited the mogul to comment on what he would say to so-called “Tesla bears” — a group of Wall Street investors who have long believed that the EV maker’s stock has been overvalued.

“Once Tesla fully solves [self-driving] autonomy and has Optimus in volume production, anyone still holding a short position will be obliterated. Even Gates,” the Tesla CEO wrote. Optimus refers bots that perform autonomous tasks at Tesla’s Giga Texas plant.

Bill Gates will be “obliterated” for shorting Tesla stock, according to Elon Musk. via REUTERS

Tesla’s stock surged more than 17% in the last two trading days after the company reported a smaller-than-expected 5% drop in vehicle deliveries for the second quarter of this fiscal year on Tuesday.

The resurgence in Tesla shares has cost short sellers an estimated $3.5 billion on a mark-to-market basis, according to data from S3 Partners, first reported by CNBC.

Short interest in Tesla currently stands at 3.5% of float, or 97 million shares shorted, with a $22.4 billion notional value, the report added.

Elon Musk took to social media and rekindled his feud with Gates, the Microsoft co-founder. SYSPEO/SIPA/Shutterstock

It is not clear if Gates currently holds any short bets on Tesla.

The Post has sought comment from Gates.

In the last month, Tesla stock has rallied by more than 40% after a prolonged slump that was brought on by declining sales and increased competition from Chinese EV brands, including the Warren Buffett-backed BYD.

Musk, whose net worth is valued by Bloomberg Billionaires Index at $252 billion, is the world’s richest person. Gates is eighth on the list with a fortune valued at around $158 billion.

In 2022, Gates confirmed to Musk biographer Walter Isaacson that he shorted Tesla stock — or bet that the stock price would dip.

Musk posted screenshots of text messages that he exchanged with Gates who sought to gauge the Tesla mogul’s interest in further efforts to combat climate change.

Shares of Tesla rose this week after the company’s latest quarterly sales report. REUTERS

“Sorry, but 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,” Musk wrote to Gates.

Gates told Isaacson in 2022: “Once he heard I’d shorted the stock, he was super mean to me, but he’s super mean to so many people, so you can’t take it too personally.”

Gates said he had apologized to Musk.

The Musk-Gates feud began in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, during which Gates pledged hundreds of millions of dollars toward helping to develop a vaccine while the Tesla boss was promising to provide ventilators to overwhelmed hospitals.

In the summer of 2020, Gates criticized Musk for his comments which appeared to downplay the severity of the virus.

“Elon’s positioning is to maintain a high level of outrageous comments,” Gates told CNBC at the time.

“He’s not much involved in vaccines. He makes a great electric car. And his rockets work well. So he’s allowed to say these things. I hope that he doesn’t confuse areas he’s not involved in too much.”

Musk responded on social media by jokingly writing “Billy G is not my lover” and “The rumor that Bill Gates & I are lovers is completely untrue.”

Musk defended himself by noting that he had helped in the production of a machine used by CureVac, a vaccine maker that counts Gates as one of its investors.

That same year, Gates irritated Musk by noting that he purchased an electric Porsche Taycan instead of a Tesla.

The electric car maker had been in a prolonged slump due to a decrease in demand for EVs as well as stiffer competition from Chinese firms. AFP via Getty Images

Musk responded by observing on social media that his “conversations with Gates have been underwhelming tbh.”

In 2021, Gates paid Musk a compliment, telling a podcaster that Tesla is “one of the greatest contributions to climate change anyone’s ever made” and said that “underestimating Elon is not a good idea.”

But the next year, Gates said he was the one who did “a lot more to climate change than Elon or anyone else.”

“I give a lot of philanthropic dollars, I back companies — you know, electric cars are about 16% of emissions, so we also need to solve that other 84%,” Gates said.

Musk took to Twitter and responded: “Sigh.”

Gates also seemed unimpressed with Musk’s stated goal of helping humans colonize Mars — telling The New York Times in 2021 that he was “not a Mars person” and that he didn’t think rockets were “the solution.”

In a subsequent podcast interview, Gates said of Musk: “I like him. I think he does great work. I don’t know him very well.”

Last September, The Post reported that Musk made a “beeline to shake” Gates’ hand during a Capitol Hill appearance at an AI summit organized by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

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