Why Elon Musk Refuses To Work With Bill Gates

Elon Musk and Bill Gates 7 photos
Photo: Bloomberg Technology on YouTube
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Bill Gates is known for his involvement in philanthropy. He wanted Musk to join him on a new initiative. Gates asked him via a private message if Musk would like to take part in an undisclosed project, but Tesla’s CEO wanted an answer first regarding a sensible topic. He got it. Here’s what followed.
It’s nice to know that billionaires are keeping in touch with each other. They control important companies and have a lot of capital at their disposal, so them being cool with each other matters for the health of the stock and job markets – that is, of course, if they don’t decide on playing against the people.

But Musk and Gates are some of the few very relatable rich people around. They keep in touch with the public, get involved in several initiatives that benefit a lot of people, maintain a public appearance, and are constantly trying to find ways to improve what humankind can achieve. They also share their fair number of controversies, but we’re not going to focus on speculations and scandals.

Instead, we’re looking at why Elon Musk blatantly refused to work with Bill Gates on a philanthropy-related initiative.

The co-founder of Microsoft and the CEO of Tesla had a little chat via text messages regarding undisclosed matters. But everything seemed to fall apart when Musk asked the following question: “Do you still have a half-billion-dollar short position against Tesla?”

Some hours passed, but Gates eventually confirmed he still thinks Tesla will fail or will lose investors’ trust. “Sorry to say I haven’t closed it out,” answered Gates before following up with an invitation to “discuss philanthropy possibilities.”

Musk replied and told Gates that he can’t take his climate plans “seriously” because he has a “massive short position against Tesla, the company doing the most to solve climate change.” The screenshots of the conversation appeared on Twitter. They were originally leaked by the New York Times, and Elon Musk also confirmed the discussion was real. He also underlined that he wasn’t the source of the leak.

Not giving up on his continuously improving ability to make and share memes on Twitter, Tesla’s CEO published a picture of Bill Gates that mocked the successful software engineer. It got popular pretty fast, accruing over 122,000 likes in just a little under 35 minutes.

Now you know why Elon Musk refuses to work with Bill Gates on reaching some climate goals. It's not entirely surprising, given what's at stake, but Tesla's CEO has previously called the Microsoft co-founder a "knucklehead" because of the same stock-related issues. On the other hand, Gates also said that electric cars are "easy to make," and the fight for climate change can't happen just by switching propulsion systems. He also owns a Porsche Taycan.

“Having a short position” or “shorting stocks” means that an investor thinks a certain company's share will most likely lose some value. That’s why they buy the shares with a loan, sell them on the open market, and buy them back again when they will be cheaper. The loan must be repaid, and the investor pockets the difference. It might sound interesting, but it’s generally frowned upon.

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About the author: Florin Amariei
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Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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