Musk couldn’t help himself from chiming in on Twitter after Bezos posted a message about overcoming adversity.
“Listen and be open, but don’t let anybody tell you who you are. This was just one of the many stories telling us all the ways we were going to fail,” Bezos tweeted alongside an image of a Barron’s cover story from 1999 calling Bezos “just another middleman.”
“Today, Amazon is one of the world’s most successful companies and has revolutionized two entirely different industries,” Bezos added in the tweet.
Shortly after midnight, Musk responded with a silver medal emoji, something Musk had promised to send to the Amazon founder now that Musk is worth almost $30 billion more than Bezos.
The tweet came after the gap between the world’s two richest men continued to widen last week, thanks in part to the new $100.3 billion valuation of Musk’s SpaceX. Most of his wealth is still tied to Tesla’s stock price.
Musk now boasts a net worth of $222 billion while Bezos’ remains at $191 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Last month, Musk warned that the tease would be coming.
“I’m sending a giant statue of the digit ‘2’ to Jeffrey B., along with a silver medal,” Musk said in an email to Forbes.
The tweet is the latest in an increasingly heated public spat between the world’s two richest men.
In addition to dueling for the title of world’s richest person, Musk and Bezos have clashed over their space ambitions.
This summer, Bezos flew to suborbital space on a 10-minute, widely watched launch with his company Blue Origin.
Musk has criticized Blue Origin — and other rival Virgin Galactic — for investing so much in suborbital launches, which he says pale in comparison to the challenges of reaching orbit.
While Musk himself hasn’t yet traveled to space, SpaceX recently launched four civilian astronauts into space for a three-day trip and successfully returned them to Earth — the first mission of its kind.
Behind the scenes, the two companies have been in a multi-year contest for US government contracts.
In April, NASA awarded a $2.9 billion contract to SpaceX, passing up on a bid by Blue Origin.
And last month, Bezos’ company sued the space agency, alleging that it unfairly awarded the contract to Musk’s firm.
Musk responded by saying that Bezos’ Blue Origin should spend more time designing and building rockets and less time suing SpaceX.
“If lobbying [and] lawyers could get [you] to orbit, Bezos would be on Pluto [right now],” Musk wrote in a Twitter reply.
Blue Origin, meanwhile, has released infographics in recent weeks that call SpaceX’s Starship rocket dangerous and point out it is “a launch vehicle that has never flown to orbit and is still being designed.”
Separately, Bezos-owned Amazon has filed a complaint against SpaceX with the Federal Communications Commission, urging the regulator to reject the company’s plan to launch more satellites as part of its satellite internet business.
In return, Musk publicly mocked Bezos, who stepped down from his position as CEO of Amazon this summer.
“Turns out Besos [sic] retired in order to pursue a full-time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX…” Musk wrote on Twitter in August — misspelling Bezos’ name, instead writing the Spanish word for “kisses.”
For Bezos’ part, he has mocked plans to colonize Mars, a key SpaceX ambition.
“My friends who want to move to Mars, I say, do me a favor and 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 told SpaceNews in 2019.
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