Two of the world's wealthiest people, Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, have been clashing over everything from cryptocurrency to coronavirus for a couple of years now.
Though it may not be serious, both Musk and Gates have publicly made statements to leave no doubt about their disapproval of each others' fundamentals.
While the rivalry between Musk and fellow space race contender Jeff Bezos has continued for nearly two decades, the relatively recent discord between Musk and Gates has only simmered up occasionally.
What could possibly be the point of conflict between two moguls whose business interests are not directly pitted against each other?
Gates chose Porsche Taycan over Tesla EV
In a 2020 interview, Gates spoke of how Tesla had helped drive innovation and adoption of electric vehicles. However, when it came to purchasing a car in this segment, he chose an all-electric Porsche Taycan over a Tesla Model 3.
Following Gates' revelation, Musk threw shade on his fellow billionaire's unexplained choice by tweeting that his "conversations with Gates have been underwhelming".
My conversations with Gates have been underwhelming tbh
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 18, 2020
Differences over severity of coronavirus
Both Musk and Gates have made huge contributions in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Gates pledged $100 million via the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Musk diverted Tesla resources to source and produce ventilators.
But since the outbreak of the pandemic, Musk has often trivialised the gravity of the virus and opposed the social-isolation initiatives.
He not only questioned data around COVID-19-related deaths in 2020, but also endorsed the untested malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the virus.
In an interview with CNBC, Gates - who has been at the fore in the fight against coronavirus - slammed Musk's stand and suggested he stick to his own areas of work.
"He's not much involved in vaccines," Gates said.
"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."
In good-humoured retaliation to Gates' criticism, Musk took to twitter and posted multiple tweets, including "Billy G is not my lover" and, "The rumour that Bill Gates & I are lovers is completely untrue".
🎶 Billy G is not my lover 🎶
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 30, 2020
The rumor that Bill Gates & I are lovers is completely untrue
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 30, 2020
During a podcast interview with The New York Times, Musk took the feud a few notches up by calling Gates a "knucklehead".
"Gates said something about me not knowing what I was doing," Musk said.
"It's like, 'Hey, knucklehead, we actually make the vaccine machines for CureVac, that company you're invested in'."
Feud over electric trucks
While Gates said Musk shouldn't comment on coronavirus, Musk quipped that Gates has no clue about electric trucks.
In August 2020, Gates wrote a blog post about electric vehicles questioning if it was practical to make trucks fully electric. This could've possibly been a snide remark on Tesla's first all-electric truck, the Semi.
While Gates didn't mention Tesla, a Twitter user sought Musk's opinion on the blogpost, to which Musk replied: "He has no clue."
He has no clue
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 12, 2020
Gates warning to world over Musk's wealth
In an interview with Bloomberg, Gates had warned the world about Elon Musk's wealth and Bitcoin 'Manias'.
The ex-Microsoft chief, who's always been sceptical about Bitcoin, admitted he was apprehensive about the frenzy over Bitcoin, especially because the value of the cryptocurrency could be swayed by a single tweet from Musk.
"If you have less money than Elon, you should probably watch out", he said speaking on Bitcoin investments.
He also observed: "Elon has tonnes of money and he's very sophisticated, so I don't worry that his Bitcoin will sort of randomly go up or down."
Criticism over space race and climate change
During an interview on The Late Late Show with James Cordon, Gates - who maintains great concerns over climate change - took a dig at billionaires who were making headway into space and trying to colonise other planets.
Asked about what he thought of billionaires entering space, Gates said he was more "obsessed towards eradicating diseases here on earth rather than in space".
Though he didn't mention any specific names, it's common knowledge Musk's SpaceX has been on a mission to send a human to Mars in the near future.
— The Late Late Show with James Corden (@latelateshow) September 23, 2021