Elon Musk Vs. Everyone
Elon Musk has garnered a reputation for his unconventional behaviour online, and his erratic actions like sending a car into space. This has made it difficult for Musk when he interacts with other CEOs, getting on the bad side of Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.
Bezos and Musk first met for dinner in 2004 to discuss their respective space companies. Elon Musk owned SpaceX and Bezos owned Blue Origin, both of which had not yet completed any launches. Even with no discernable topic to argue over, they both made bad impressions on each other. Musk complained that all of his advice was ignored by Bezos who was new to the industry. The rivalry was reignited when both companies competed for the exclusive use of a NASA launchpad in 2014. Bezos eventually won when he filed a motion with the government to not allow SpaceX to use the launchpad. Bezos made a promise, in return, to allow any company that wants to use the launchpad to do so.
Angry over what he called a, “phony blocking tactic,” Musk mocked him in an interview with Space News over the fact that, "[Blue Origin] has not yet succeeded in creating a reliable suborbital spacecraft, despite spending over 10 years in development...If they do somehow show up in the next five years with a vehicle qualified to NASA's human rating standards that can dock with the Space Station, which is what Pad 39A is meant to do, we will gladly accommodate their needs. Frankly, I think we are more likely to discover unicorns dancing in the flame duct." Recently, Musk has briefly overtaken Bezos for the spot of richest man in the world, which is sure to reignite their rivalry anytime soon.
Elon Musk and Microsoft CEO, Bill Gates, first quarreled when Gates said that he does not trust Teslas, due to the fact that their range is not as high as he would like. Elon musk fired back saying that he did not consider the other capabilities of the vehicle and dismissed it without taking it into context. Gates continued to criticize Musk for downplaying the pandemic and making false claims online. Gates has been a prominent figure in funding and research for the COVID-19 vaccine, so Musk decided to challenge that by working with Curevac to develop one as well. In an interview, Musk called Gates a “knucklehead” for his work on the vaccine.
Musk had a failed launch in 2016, where he destroyed a Facebook satellite. This obviously made a bad impression on Zuckerberg and encouraged retaliation. The Facebook CEO criticized Musk’s views on AI, calling him irresponsible for his opinions. When Zuckerberg’s unethical practice of storing user information was exposed, Elon Musk deleted his companies’ accounts to make a statement. Musk continued to have the upperhand in this rivalry when he criticized Facebook’s role in the Capitol riots.
Musk’s feuds with tech CEOs is only the tip of the iceberg. He has criticized everyone from celebrities to news companies. With the impressive range that his attacks have, it is clear that he argues with anyone who dares to even look at him the wrong way. Whatever the new year brings, one thing is for certain, there will be at least one more Musk scandal that will entertain us.