Elon Musk Responds To Replacing Jeff Bezos As World’s Richest Person


On Monday, Elon Musk became the third person ever to amass a fortune worth $200 billion, according to Forbes, surpassing Amazon founder and rival space billionaire Jeff Bezos in the process. Reached for comment by Forbes, Musk took a celebratory crack at Bezos.

“I’m sending a giant statue of the digit ‘2’ to Jeffrey B., along with a silver medal,” Musk wrote in a short email.

The jibe is no surprise coming from the eccentric Tesla chief executive officer, who has in the past taken to Twitter to playfully label Bezos a “copycat” twice (both times using a cat emoji), first in April 2019, when Amazon announced plans to launch internet-beaming satellites in competition with Musk’s SpaceX and again in June 2020, when Amazon acquired self-driving car company Zoox, which is taking on Tesla.

In recent years, the two men have been on a collision course on two tracks: their net worths and their space ambitions. Musk was worth $24.6 billion in March 2020, nearly $90 billion less than Bezos at the time. In August 2020, Bezos became the first-ever person to be worth $200 billion as Amazon stock soared. But a remarkable rally in shares of Musk’s electric vehicle company Tesla—up 720% in 2020—helped Musk catch up, and he briefly became the world’s richest person in January 2021. The pair have traded the title back and forth several times this year, as has Bernard Arnault, chief of French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, in an unprecedented year of jockeying atop the billionaire rankings. As of 2 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Musk is in first place, worth an estimated $200.7 billion. Bezos is number two richest, at an estimated $192.5 billion. Arnault follows in the number three spot, worth $174 billion, according to Forbes’ estimates.

A spokesperson for Bezos did not reply to a request for comment.

On the space frontier, the two men head up competing rocket companies. Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000, while Musk launched SpaceX in 2002. In July, Bezos flew into suborbital space on a ten-minute ride aboard a Blue Origin spacecraft. As the billionaire space race heats up, the two have increasingly traded barbs at one another on Twitter and in speeches.

Bezos has challenged Musk’s ambitions to colonize Mars. “My friends who want to move to Mars? I say, ‘Do me a favor. Go live on the top of Mount Everest for a year first and see if you like it—because it’s a garden paradise compared to Mars,’” Bezos said in a 2019 talk. Meanwhile, their space companies have been embroiled in a battle over NASA’s plans to build a lunar lander. In April, the U.S. federal space agency awarded a $2.9 billion contract to SpaceX, rejecting a bid by Blue Origin. In the ensuing months, Bezos’ company threatened litigation, prompting Musk to take to Twitter to mock Blue Origin’s lander design.

Last month, Bezos’ Blue Origin followed through in filing a lawsuit against the U.S. government over the lunar lander contract. Musk responded to Bezos’ complaints on Twitter by affirming a tweet from a SpaceX fan account that said Blue Origin was spending too much protesting instead of doing “actual rocket science.”

“If lobbying [and] lawyers could get [you] to orbit, Bezos would be on Pluto [right now],” Musk wrote in a Twitter reply.

After Amazon requested that the Federal Communications Commission reject an update by SpaceX to its Starlink satellite plan, SpaceX wrote back to the FCC earlier this month that Amazon was attempting to “slow down competition.” Musk added his own commentary on Twitter, quipping: “Turns out Besos (sic) retired in order to pursue a full-time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX.”

Still, the rivalry permits brief displays of sportsmanship. Ahead of Bezos’ spaceflight in July, Musk took to Twitter to wish him and the Blue Origin crew good luck. Two weeks ago, Bezos congratulated Musk and SpaceX on their successful launch of the Inspiration4 spacecraft onto a three-day flight around Earth’s orbit. “Another step toward a future where space is accessible to all of us,” Bezos wrote. Musk’s response: “Thank you.”





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